“To err is human” – this is regarding my last game, to console myself . I missed a win 3 times in this game. Again, I played well positionally, but missed the tactics and specific lines. I found that in the whole August I played exactly one online blitz game and one OTB game before that game, it probably showed. I had White, never played this guy before. Our Moscow variation transposed right away  into Rossolimo variation.

The first mistake I made was playing 13. f4, I realized that I have a problem after his 14… Nh5. I saw Rxb2 threat and spent a lot of time to find a good move. I thought that after 15. Bxd6 Rxb2 16. Rxb2 Bxc3 I would lose a piece, not seeing that after 17. Qc1 I get it back. So I played 15. Qc1 and lost a pawn.

His 19… Ba6 wasn’t the best move, he could play d5 with advantage. His 20… Kg7 got him into a trouble, I found Qc1 with a strong attack. 24… f5 was another mistake, but I played 25. Qf3 and didn’t find the right move – Qg5. His 25… Rxe4 was unexpected, I calculated 26. Nh6+ Kg7 27. Nxf5+ gxf5 28. Qxf5, but didn’t see that it was winning. But he could play 26… Kh8 and  it was just a bit better for me.

When I decided to take on c6, I thought that then I will play Qe8+, so after he played 29… Bd5 it was an instant premove. I had about 5 minutes left at that time. Had I spent a bit of time I would see, of course, Qxd5 with a win. Then again he made a big mistake playing 33… Bxa2, but I played the moves in the wrong order – it had to be Qf6+ first and then Qe7 with a win.

So eventually I found myself a pawn down, pursuing his king. I noticed in the scoresheet that we repeated the position 3 times and offered him a draw. Much to my surprise he declined, so I claimed threefold repetition and TD confirmed that.

It was a first round and I played in the middle section, so my opponent was low rated. I had Black and played Queen’s Indian. His g3, Bg2 caused me some grief, so next time I should be prepared better. I had a feeling that 11… Na6 wasn’t a very good move, nevertheless I played it, he could answer Ne5 with advantage, even more if 13. Ne5.

After 14. Qd3 I equalized and then managed to get an advantage after his 17. Nb3. He had to give up a pawn after 17… dxc4. Computer criticizes me for 21… Bd3.  Anyway I was increasing my advantage until it became winning and then I made a mistake by playing 53… Qf7 instead of b2.

It was equal after  54… Qf5 and 56… Rd2, but every time he was giving me a chance. But after 57… b2 I realized that he has a perpetual. Then he made a decisive mistake by playing 59. Qb8+, but I let him escape by playing 60… Qd6. Then after 63. Ng5 I finally took the game in my hands and in two moves he resigned.

 

This game was really unusual.

First  – it was played with TD, who decided to play in order not to leave me without pair, because I already had a 1-point bye. I never played him before.

Second – it was unusual by the amount of combinations that I missed, different themes, I actually never had so many possibilities before and I missed all of them, though played positionally pretty well.

So, I got Black and he played some kind of Colle System. My Ne4 was counteracting his Ne5. He and computer later criticized my a5, yes it was too cautious and created a weakness. Anyway when I saw his Nb1 I realized that it was my time and played Bxe5 with the idea of Ng4. It was a good idea, but I didn’t see the next move that I had – 19… Nxh2 with 20. Kh2 Qh4+ 21. Kg1 Ng3 22. Qc2 (or Qe1) dxc4 with a very strong attack. I was still better, but after 29… Qg6 I lost my advantage. His 30. Be1 was bad, after the game he found much better move – Rxf3, if then Black gives back exchange for the knight on d6 it becomes equal.

I found 30… d4 and without much thought played it, I had I think less than 10 minutes at that time. After the game one expert said that I missed an easy win – 31… Nxg5, in a few moves after that computer evaluates my position as -2 . I played 31… Qg6 and then he made a crucial mistake by playing 32. exd4, funny that we both didn’t see it even in the post-mortem.

32… Rxf4 was winning on the spot (33. Kxf4 Qg5#).  Then he again allowed this move playing 33. Qb2, I didn’t see it. In two moves another combination was possible – 35… Rxd6 36. exd6 Nf5+.   37… e3 was stronger than obvious Rd3. After his 39. Qg4 I thought that he escaped, because avoiding exchange allowed him to take on e6 with a check and then his rook would become very dangerous. After the game another guy said that I could play 39… d2 and it was winning, he was right. But I played Qxg4 and we agreed to a draw.

 

It is not about book or movie, it is about my game last Monday. My opponent was a guy to whom I lost a few times with Black, this time I had White. I played Moscow variation against his Sicilian and he decided to close the center. He was moving his pawns on the both parts of the board and I thought that I need to do something.

So I played 20. a4 with the idea of getting c4 square for my knight. It is the move that computer suggests, with an equal play. He accepted the sacrifice, then started to move his knight in order to exchange it on c4. I thought that if I will exchange queens it would delay that. It was a mistake, computer evaluates it as -1.

I had to switch to defense. I made a big mistake when I played 34. Ke2, the best was Ra1 and if 34… Rb4 then 35. Ke1. Then 35. Kd2 lost the game because he played 35… a3 and forced the transition into an endgame that was lost for me.

I had serious doubts if I should play that Monday night after returning from the weekend tournament that didn’t go well at all. But during the day I calmed down, was feeling OK and decided to go.

My opponent was a new guy, he played before in the middle section and his rating was still provisional. I got Black, he played Ruy Lopez, we followed the book moves until his 16. Ng3 to which I played Rfe8, not Nc6. Computer thinks  that after 19. Ne3 I had 0.9 advantage.

Here comes the explanation of the post’s title. I calculated 21… Rxd3, saw that it didn’t work and played Nb7. But there was an interesting move that actually used my idea.  21… Bb4 attacked the rook on e1, defending e4. So, 22. Bd2 was losing due to Qd7 and if 22. Nd2 then Qd7 again. If 22. Rf1 then my Rxd3 worked.

The best reply for White was 22. Bxh6 and then if 22… Bxe1 then 23. Bxg7 and White is better. So, 22… gxh6 23. Qe3 Bf8 24. Nxh6+ Bxh6 25. Qxh6 Rxd3 26. Qg5+ Kf8 27. Qxf6 Qd6 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxe5 with Black having a bishop for 3 pawns and about 0.4 advantage.

Nothing of that happened, on move 24 I played Nd4 though I didn’t like it, just didn’t see anything else. On moves 36 and 37 he could get advantage after Qg3, but he didn’t see it and played 37… Nxd4, after that it became equal, we repeated the moves and agreed to a draw.

I played in the tournament last weekend, it happened about 80 km from Toronto, in Guelph, at the local university. It was well organized and the traffic was good, less than an hour drive.

I played in the U2000 section, definitely could do much better than I did, but I hope I learned some important lessons. On my play definitely reflected the fact that I was waking up early both nights – at 4:30am, 5:30am with a little sleep before leaving.

Game 1 – I got Black, we played Giuoco Piano, he choose a 7. Nc3 variation I never played OTB before, maybe blitz a few times. Good that I remembered the main line, though not as deep as I thought. After 8… Bxc3 the main line is 9. d5 and Black should play Bf6, giving back one of the knights.

I played 11… f5, thinking that after Bf5 I can be overwhelmed with defending the knight on d4, but after 12. Re1 Re8 13. Nd2 Qf6 White can’t take on e4 – 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Bxe4 Qh5 and Black gets two pieces for the rook.

After 16… Nd6 it was equal despite me being pawn up, but then he played Bg5. After I took the bishop he resigned.

Game 2 – I got White with the girl that got a bye in the first round. Typical Rossolimo, but my attack on the kingside did not succeed, I didn’t play f4 not wanting to give her e5 square.

So, I switched to queenside. After 21. c4 I could win c5 pawn having a good, simple position without queens. I won it anyway, but had to spend time so my queen won’t get into trouble.  37. Qb3 was better than 37. Rb5, penetrating then into her backyard. Computer plays 39. f4 too, but I consider this move a mistake and beginning of the problems for White.

I had to play 42. cxb5, maybe I didn’t play it because I didn’t like c4, but it was completely won for White. I don’t remember  why I didn’t take on c5 on move 47, probably because of Qa4, but it was winning.

49. Qf3 was a big mistake, it gave up all the advantage, 49. Qb6 Qa4 50. Qf5 was the line to play. I already started to feel fatigue and my time also was shrinking. Then I made a game losing mistake playing 56. Kg1. After 56… Qc3 I realized that I am going to lose the game. After queens exchange the pawn endgame was lost.

Game 3 – I got Black with an aged guy, he played Queen’s Pawn. The first and only possibility advantage came for me on move 17, when I could play d4. Then I didn’t understand the meaning of his 23. Bd3, played a5 and missed a skewer. I managed to win his “b” pawn and thought that I could try to hold with my two bishops.

He tried to attack my king, but couldn’t find a win and went for a 3-fold repetition.

Game 4 – it was Sunday and I came with high expectations. I got White with a young guy and our Ruy Lopez quickly went off the book. He started a play in the center with 11… d5 and could get some advantage after 14… e4, but suddenly he played 14… Nxe3. I noticed almost right away that I have 15. Na4 and played it. Then instead of 19. Nd4 the best was Ng5.

After 19… Ng4 he managed to exchange queens and weaken my pawn structure on the kingside. I missed 28. Rxf7, still had a big advantage. But I didn’t think how I will use it, didn’t have any plan and was just moving the pieces. There a mistake in my score, so I can’t connect the moves in it before move 45 with the rest. But what happened is that  I eventually I had a pawn on b2, he on b3, his rook was on the 2nd horizontal and his king joined his pieces attacking my queenside. I got a very passive position, was in a serious time trouble, then lost pawns on the kingside and then blundered a piece and resigned.

I played this game on Monday last week. I guessed my opponent and color right and decided to play French defense. I looked up a few moves just in case if he plays Nc3 and then the Alekhine-Chatard attack. This is exactly what happened. I also remembered that my king should escape to the queenside.

I had to give the pawn back, but was holding up. Then I played  25… c5, the move was OK, but I didn’t expect his reply b3. I considered 26. b3 cxd4 27. bxc4 dxc3 and didn’t like 28. cxd5. In reality it was equal after that. So I played 26… Nxa3 thinking that then my knight can go to b5 and if he exchanges knights on b5 and takes on f7, I will have a strong attack after Rg1+.
Yes, it was a winning line for me, but he played 28. Nxf7 and I couldn’t take on c3 because of the fork on d6.

Aftre 28… Qxf7 he got a big advantage and then it all went down.

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