It was a last round, my opponent was an old guy rated 1922, I had =1, -1 with him in the past. I got White and he played Owen’s defense. I had a difficult choice on move 10 and eventually decided to trade queens. I didn’t expect his Ke7 and the best in this situation was to keep queens by playing Qe2. 13. b4 wasn’t a good move, I didn’t realize I am weakening my position.

Soon I started to feel under pressure and on move 28 decided to sacrifice a pawn. It actually worked and I got real drawing chances, but then I made a big mistake playing 40. Ke3. I thought that my king should be closer to his “c” pawn, but much more important was blocking his pawns.

I considered playing 41. f4, but  realized that it will lose because his pawns would be too far one from another. The position continued to deteriorate and I had only a few minutes left. Still I missed an excellent chance that he gave me by playing 47. Ke2. There was a nice combination – 48. b7 Bxb7 49. Bxe4 Bc8 50. Kc2 Bd7 51. Kxc3 Bxa4 52. Bxf3+ Kxf3 53. Kb2 Kxf2 with  a draw.

Interesting that couple of days after the game he sent me a message via Facebook and pointed to this opportunity as well as to the missed draw after 40. Ke3.

It was a last round in the Thursday’s tournament and my opponent was an old guy, last time I played him was in 2013 and our score was +3, -3. Our opening soon transformed to Catalan, I didn’t have much experience playing against it.

On move 12 I missed a little combination: 12… Nxc5 13. Bg5 f6 14. dxc5 fxg5 15. Qe2 Qf6 , but I am not sure I like it for Black and computer says it is equal. Then I had difficulty to find the right moves, 17… f5 is an example.

I was feeling under the pressure and 26… was an attempt to get a counter-play. I missed 27. d5 and was worse, but then he made a mistake playing 30. c6. I played accurately after that and when we reached an equal rook endgame he realized that and offered a draw.

I got a 1961 rated opponent and had Black. He chose French, I played Tarrasch and we went along the lines typical for the games of the Candidates match between Karpov and Korchnoi in 1974, here is one:

11. Nbd4 was a little mistake, because he could play Nxd4 getting rid of an isolated pawn. I could take his d5 pawn on move 19, but didn’t like 19. Qxd5 Rxe1+ 20. Nxe1 Rd8 thinking that it gives him a good play, it’s a 0.5 advantage actually. But after 19. Rxe8 Rxe8 20. Qd5 Qd8 I have about 0.9 advantage. Then we ended up in a rook endgame, where I felt I have an advantage but didn’t see a way to use it. So I forced a three-fold repetition.

At home all computer shootouts were ending with White winning. It started with 42. f4 and after g5 (which was forced I guess) White rook was getting to the kingside through the 6th horizontal.



I played this game two weeks ago. My opponent was a young guy, I played him once before and won. We got Slav Exchange, we were equal until I missed a combination 16… Nxb2 17. Rxb2 Bxa3 with a 0.5 advantage.

I considered 20… Nxa3, but decided not to take it, in any case computer considers it equal. Then after his 28. Qg4 I got better. I made a mistake playing 30… Qf7 instead of 30… fxg5 with advantage and noticed 31. g6! right away. I even thought I could lose, but it is a draw. Taking on f4 I foresaw my queen’s return to h6 after check. Of course it was a bad idea for him to exchange his knight for my bishop.

Then he got into a time trouble and made a serious mistake by playing 37. Kh3, 37… Qf5 was winning on the spot. Anyway soon he made another mistake – 39. Qd6 which was decisive.

It was a new opponent and I got Black. I chose Semi-Slav, the opening went well and I was comfortable with the placing of my pieces. I lost that feeling after 15. h3, seeing f4, f5 threat. I thought that I don’t want to think about it all the time and played Bf5. Computer suggests 15… Nc4, I considered it, but didn’t like spoiling my pawn structure. But after 16… Bd3 White is -1.22. Still I knew that I have good chances on the kingside.

On move 21 I missed d4! and then 22. exd4 Nf3+! winning exchange, because it’s mate after 23. Bxf3 Qxe1 24. Rxe1. Then I saw a rook sacrifice and after some checking went for it. Then I saw another strike – 27. d4.  I considered 28… Nh4+, computer prefers it, but played Nxg3.

Computer found another combination – 30. c2 with a win, I didn’t see it. Then I made a mistake playing 31… Ne4. Still I was better and his 34. Rdxf7 was a crucial mistake. He couldn’t take with the other rook, it was losing, but 34. Bc1 was keeping him alive, at least for some time. I saw 34… Bf6 right away. After move 36 I knew that the game was over, it became technical.


These games were played last Thursday and Monday, in rounds 4 of the respective tournaments. In both cases I had White and my opponents played Sicilian Defense. I didn’t find the right plan and made some tactical mistakes in both games.

Thursday’s game – my opponent was an old former master, I had +1, -1 score with him before. We played Sicilian, Moscow variation, I chose a quiet line. Then it was a positional play until we reached move 23. After his Qc6 I saw that I can win a pawn on a5, but thought that after rooks exchange he will catch my knight – 24. Rxa5 Rxa5 25. Nxa5 Qa4, but didn’t see 26. Qa7. If you would look at the end of the game you would realize how crucial this pawn was. I played 24. Raa1 and after a4 he intercepted the initiative. Then instead of 27. Ra2 I played Qd4. The idea was close – to do something against the “a” pawn, but what was needed was blocking. Then on move 29 I missed it again and quickly got really worse. His attack developed and soon I lost.

Monday’s game – my opponent was a Russian speaking boy, who grew from a “B” class player to a master on my eyes, my score with him in the last 4 years  was 2.5:4.5 (with a positive score in a few years before that). He played Sicilian Defense, I chose Rossolimo variation.  It went wrong almost from the beginning, when I decided to develop my bishop to b2. Then it was a very bad idea to take on f4. As soon as I played it I realized that when I will move my knight after 17… exf4 he can play f3 with really serious consequences for me. But he probably didn’t see it and played Rxf4. It was difficult to find the right moves and I was getting worse and worse. On move 28 I decided to sacrifice a pawn, but it didn’t give me any relief. In the endgame his queen was very strong and it decided the game.


This game was played 2.5 weeks ago, on Thursday. my opponent was a teenager boy,  I had 2 draws with him with Black. This time I had White and he played Sicilian, d6. I chose my favorite Moscow variation, Maroczy bind.

Two things were unusual for this line – I put my knight on c3 only on move 22 and he counterattacked on the kingside without castle. I did not believe his attack was sound, but decided to be careful. After all the smoke disappeared, he found himself in a worse position.

I thought that his queens exchange was a mistake, but 22… exd4 was not better. He got a couple of weak pawns that was difficult to defend. He also had less time, like 7 minutes to my 15-20. His 26… Ke6 was a mistake and 27… Ke7 lost the game.