I played this game last week, on Thursday. I had White and went for an Open Sicilian, don’t remember the last time I played it. I still remembered that I should be careful of Bc5 and Qb6, also of Bb4. 5. Be3 wasn’t a very good move, Nc3 is the book one. Anyway I was feeling OK after the opening, just needed a plan.

I knew that g4 was kind of sharp, computer prefers doubling the rooks on “d” vertical. The position was about equal, then he played Nc5. I saw right away that after exchange on d8 he leaves his knight under-protected, no matter how he takes on d8. I played it, then after 24. Bxc5 he suddenly took the bishop with the rook. I saw his idea to pin the rook, but I had enough defense resources. Being a rook down he resigned.

My opponent was a boy, I played many times with him before. He had White, again Ruy Lopez, Anderssen Variation – 5. d3.

After his 13th move I decided not to wait until I get under the kingside attack and played d5. He did not play the exact moves – 14. Qe2 instead of 14. exd5 was equal and 15. d4 was not well thought too.

The same was with his 17. Nf5 – he was attacking even I was better developed. I spent quite some time calculating 17. Bxf5 until decided that I am good in all the lines. I considered his 21. Ne5 a mistake, but he actually did not have a choice, he could not play Be3 because after cxd4 he couldn’t take on d4, it was losing a piece.

So, he I was, happy being pawn up, but what next? 24… Rg4 was too cautious, I was seeing ghosts with Rxg7+. Instead 24… f6 25. Rg3 Re8 26. Be3 Rd3 was keeping pressure. Then we exchanged another pair of rooks and after a few more moves he offered a draw. I refused first, but then not seeing how I can win and having 22 minutes vs. his 45, agreed.

My opponent was a guy I had a +1, -1 score in the last 3 years. I looked at our games before coming to the club. He played that night the same Giuoco Piano, but a different variation.

After 21… Qf5 I was feeling confident. Computer thinks that 23. b4 was a mistake. I thought for a some time how to play on move 24, Nd3 or Rg6, decided on Rg6, it was right. But then after g3 I did not see Qc2 eventually winning d4 pawn. I did not want to play 27… Nxb4, seeing that after 28. Rb2 he wins the pawn back with a better position. But computer suggests 27… c5 28. dxc5 Na6 with 0.6-0.7 advantage and a better play for Black.

So, I think it was after 25. g3 that he offered a draw. I refused first, but after a few moves saw that I have 12 minutes against his 18 and also didn’t see how I can win, so I agreed to a draw.

Computer evaluated the final position as +0.5 for me and suggested playing 28… Rg4. It was another idea I didn’t see, to attack his d4 pawn. Anyway I think it was a reasonable decision and it stopped a losing streak too.

It was a second round, I played with a boy, couple of months ago he didn’t want a perpetual and lost to me. This time I had Black and he played Vienna Game.  I was happy with how the game developed and he really was behind on time.  Then on move 27 I made the first bad decision – to exchange queens, thinking that even without queens  I will still be much better. Fritz says that after 27. Re4 I had about +2 advantage, +1  after Qe4.

It was a moment when I had 30 minutes and he had one, but then he started to play fast. I couldn’t find a good plan and was probably hoping that he will flag or make a decisive mistake. I had perpetual after 41. Rd2+, but did not pay attention, exactly like he did in the previous game.  Then I got less than 5 minutes left and stopped writing the moves, the rules in our club allow that.

So, eventually we got into a rook endgame.  He managed to win my “b” pawn, I won his “c” one and also I lost “f” pawn on the kingside  and exchanged “g” pawns.  My king was cut off and with the passed “b” pawn he had an easy win. No need to say that I was really disappointed.

This game was played in the beginning of December. My opponent was a boy with whom my score was 1.5:3.5 with my only win 2 years ago, when his rating was 500 points lower than current 2247.

I had White and we played Sicilian, Moscow variation. His Nd7 is the most serious answer to Bb5+. We defined our strategies pretty early with him attacking on the queenside and me – on the kingside. Computer thinks that 16. Nd5  was better than Ne2, but I still don’t like 16… Bxd5 17. exd5 Qd8 18. a3 Nxd5.  I was somewhat worse after exchange on d3, but decided to proceed with my plan no matter what. It paid off when he made a mistake and played 23…Rxb2. Instead computer suggests a crazy line – 23… Rxd3 24. Qxd3 Rxg2+ 25. Kxg2 Bxe4+ 26. Qxe4 Nxe4 with equal position.

I saw Nh6+ threat when I played 22. Nf5, so replied right away. Then I found 25. Bb3. Computer considers 25… Rd7 a big mistake, suggesting 25… Bxe4 26. dxe4 Rdd2, but White still has a huge advantage. 26. Rxf6 was winning on the spot, I didn’t play it. Of course I saw it, but it seemed to me that his king will escape. But after 26. Rxf6 gxf6 27. Qg3 Ke7 28. Nf5+ Kd8 29. the same Rc1 is decisive. Anyway, my attack continued and I sacrificed my knight again.

His position became indefensible soon and he resigned.

 

 

I had recently 3 games where it was a final theme. The difference is that in two games my opponents had it, but decided to play for a win and in third game it was my only chance and I did it.

Game 1 – I played with a boy rated 2004. I had White and chose rather unusual to me Ruy Lopez with d3, c3. He played an early f5, my h4 was not an exact move. After move 30 I liked my position more.

Fritz says I could play Rd5 two moves earlier. 41. Qxf3 created a weak pawn on g4, gxf3 was better. Then I make a serious blunder playing 53. Qg4. He didn’t use it and after 55. Rxa2 it was a draw by perpetual. 63… Qg2+ was a decisive mistake, I won in a few moves.

Game 2 – my opponent, young man, came 54 minutes late, when I was sure there will be no game, the control was 90’/G + 30”/move.     I lost to him 3 times with White in Sicilian, Moscow variation, so I decided  to play Closed Sicilian. We both played fast, kind of like a rapid game. He castled queenside and we both developed attacks. I made a mistake on move 20 not playing d5 because I overestimated his threat to take on h2 – 20. d5 Qe3+ 21. Kf1 Rxh2. I didn’t see 22. Rxb7+ at that moment. But later when I played 22. d5 I already saw that if he plays Bh3 I have a perpetual. He did exactly that and I sacrificed a rook on b7 with a draw.

Game 3 – my opponent was a boy, I had Black and we played Ruy Lopez. I decided to go for an early d5 and miscalculated, losing a pawn as a result. I expected him to exchange queens on move 30 and my chances in the rook endgame looked very bleak to me. He didn’t do that and then after I played Qa3, he didn’t see my queen’s  potential. After 37. Kf1 I had about 0.5 advantage, but probably would go for a perpetual, because I had about 5 minutes vs. his 30.

Suddenly he played 37. Kh3 and I saw Rg5 almost right away. He realized that he made a crucial mistake and resigned.

 

 

The two games that I played on consecutive Thursdays look reversed, it explains the title.

In the first game I had an opponent, to whom I lost recently having White in Sicilian. This time it was the same variation, but I played my regular Maroszy bind. He made a mistake on move 22 and I won a pawn.

Then I made two not very good moves – 26. Na4 ( 26. Nfe2 – +2.19) and 30. R2d5 ( 30. Nc3 – +1.43) and lost all my advantage. He had much more time than me and I started to get nervous, because the queens remained on the board. Then when I had 8 minutes left (he had 30) I touched my bishop wanting to cover from checks on the 1st horizontal and suddenly realized that I left unprotected the diagonal c5-g1. I resigned on the spot, was very upset.

In a week I got an opponent, with whom I have =2, -3 score. He had White and we played Queen’s Pawn defense. I thought that I intercepted the initiative after the opening, but instead of 20… fxg2 I had to play 20… Qh4. Soon he started to develop a counter-attack.

I made a big mistake playing 27… Bg6, I just thought that it will take off the pressure. After that in all the lines f5 was the decisive move. If exf5, then e6 attacking the rook and releasing the bishop at the same time. Interesting that we both did not see it. It got easier for me by the move 35, he also had 1 minute vs. my 10. I offered him a draw, but he refused. Objectively he still had a +2 advantage at this point.

Then he missed 43… Rxf4. 45. Rxf4 was a blunder, very similar to my blunder in the previous game. It would be a draw after 45. Rxg7+. The position became technical for me and in a few moves I won.

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