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.

It means avenging, revenge. My opponent was a guy to whom I lost a few times with Black, having equal score with White. So I got White, Scandinavian defense.

We followed the known line, it is better for Black to take on f3. I remembered that e6 is not good and I have to play h4, but at that moment I had kind of a moment of blindness. I thought that he can play 10… Nd7 and if I play 11. h5 he takes on e5 and after exchanges on e5 and e2 takes c2 pawn. Fritz says that I can actually catch this bishop, I didn’t see that, but he gets 4 pawns for that. But what I completely missed is that I can take on d7 and then play h5. So it looks like he has to play 10… h6 or h5, but the arising position after 11. Nxg6 fxg6 is very bad for Black, computer evaluates it as +2 and still thinks that 10… Nd7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. h5 Bxc2 with Black having two pawns for the bishop is better.

I knew he will play 21… c5. The position was equal until he played 29… Rh7. Then after 31… Qe3 it was another moment of blindness, induced partly by him, because it looked like a trap for me to take the pawn. I missed that queen defends d3 square. Computer wins all shootouts after 32. Rxf5.

By move 50 I had only 8 minutes left vs. his 30. I saw that if I defend b2 he still takes the pawn with the knight because his queen attacks the bishop. So, taking into account all the circumstances I went for perpetual. He showed me Qb4 after the game where I could win “a” pawn. But seeing that Q vs. Q endgame I told him that it is likely a draw, indeed all shootouts ended in a draw. So, it wasn’t a full revenge, but I had him on the ropes.

I unexpectedly got Black again in that round, so my opponent was also unexpected – the girl I lost to twice. Once I underestimated her and another time I gave up the perpetual for a “winning” move. She can play well, recently drew with a master and a couple of experts and is a current U14 girls Canadian champion.

We played Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation. After Nxc4 I decided to take with the pawn, didn’t like her bishop getting to b3. I thought that d5 instead of pressure on e5 was making my life easier. Then I got an opportunity to get my knight on f4 and started to think about an attack.

Her 27. Rh1 was a big mistake, which I didn’t use. After 27… Rxc3 28. Qxc3 Bxh3 29. g3 Qh6 30. gxf4 exf4 31. Qd2 f3 32. Nf1 Qh4 33. Kg1 Bxa1 Black is much better. I saw the idea of Rxc3 without the details after she played Bb4 and decided to keep it in mind. After 30. Rac1 I saw 30… Rxb4 31. Qxb4 Ne2 with Qf4+ coming and calculated that because of the mate threat and her pieces on e3 and c1 hanging it should be a sound sacrifice.

It was, she played Qe1 and my task since then was not to let her win back the knight on e2. We exchanged the bishops, then the rooks. I thought that I should keep my queen, because B+N vs. R could get tricky if her rook will become active. Then she underestimated my attack in the center and made two crucial mistakes – 47. Qb8+ and 48. Qxd6. At that moment I had about 3 minutes left, but managed to stay calm and found the winning moves.


My opponent was a boy, I drew with him 2.5 years ago. I had Black, we played the same variation of Italian game. I knew that White has some activity as a compensation for an isolated pawn, so I need to be careful.

The most interesting moment of the game occurred after his 29. f3, which was a mistake. He could play b4 with an equal position. I immediately saw c5 and played it. After his Qe4 I considered Qb3, but after some thinking decided that he can play  31. Rd3 Qxb2 32. d5 which I thought was giving him some chances. Actually it was a chance for me to win. In another line that Fritz gives – 30… Qb3 31. Rd2 cxd4 32. Qd3 Qd5 Black is also better, as well as after 30… Qb3 31. Qd3 Qb6 32. Kf1 Rxd4.

So, we went into a rook ending and I soon realized that I don’t have a chance to win. I also had about 8 minutes left vs. his 15 and offered a draw, which he accepted.

My opponent in the second round was a guy I lost to a year ago after missed tactics, this time it was the other way around. I got White and he played the same French defense variation that I had with a master recently.

In this game I played 6. Bc4 and we soon deviated from the theory. The first sign for me that the game can go my way was when he allowed exchange on c5. I spend some time on 14. Nd4 and played it, thinking that I will keep my advantage in the simplified position. I saw that 19. Nf5 should give me advantage. 19… Bc8 was a bad move, Nf6 was definitely better. After 20… Na5 computer suggests “crazy” Bd5.

22… Nf6 was a crucial mistake. I quickly played Nb6, went around a bit and when I was back, I was really surprised to see Bd7. I thought that it was some kind of a sacrifice to get out of positional pressure and without much thinking took the rook. I was shocked to see at  home that he actually blundered a piece, unless I found an explanation – 23… Rb8 24. Bf4 – crushing. Probably he saw it.

Anyway I would never think that he will blunder a piece, so missed it and got an exchange instead. Now I think that the easiest way to win would be just exchange the rooks and then having pawn majority on the queenside I could just sacrifice exchange back and win. But I thought that with two rooks I would win faster.

Long story short, he managed to activate his pieces and somewhere around move 50 I started to think that I am actually worse and it would be very sad to lose this game. So, I played 53. b5 believing that I should manage to equalize. By the way two shootouts were won by White, exchange is exchange.

53… Kxf4 was a mistake, “a” pawn is much more important than “f”. Then he played 54… Ke3 and I saw 55. Rxf3+ right away. I checked and played it. He resigned after a couple of moves.

This time it was a FIDE Master as I found out when came home. I decided to play Semi-Slav again, though I lost quite a few games with it, just don’t have anything else that could be reliable. This time I think I finally started to feel it and didn’t get into a completely passive position, the price for that was an isolated pawn.

Of course the main line is not 7… h6, but O-O. I didn’t like possible e4, but there is nothing dangerous in it. Until the move 15. Qxb2 we repeated the game played in Russia 16 years ago between two women 2300-2400 rated that ended up in a draw. I equalized after Ne4 and Qf6. Strange that computer doesn’t want to take on e4 – 26. Bx4 dxe4 27. Nxe6 Rxe6 28. Rc8+ Kh7 29. Rc7 and White wins a pawn, leading to a position where White has 4P vs. 2P on the kingside and Black has 2P vs. P on the queenside, evaluating it as only ~0.6 for White.

I kept an equal position between the moves 30 and 50. All shootouts after 50. Ne2 end up in a draw. But then I made a game losing mistake – 50… g5. I tried to defend against Nf4, but it created a weakness on h5 and in some lines a possibility to put the knight on g3.

I forgot that the same defense that allowed me ignore his threat to take on d5 with the knight – 50. Nxd5 Bxd5  51. Kxd5 Kc5 worked also against his threat Nf4. Bishop goes to d5 and then f7 and if Kxe5 then Kc5.

I resisted 14 more moves and lost on time, the game was already over anyway.

It was a first round and I got a master with whom I had =2, -2, all with White. This time again White and French. I knew that on move 6 I had to play Bc4, but didn’t remember how to proceed, so chose 6. Nb3 which is worse.  6… e5 was better than his Nc6, I planned to reply c3 to that, but after 6… e5 7. c3 Nc6 8. cxd4 e4 Black is better.

After exchanges the position became equal, though I thought I was better. He had left 30 minutes vs. my hour when he suddenly offered a draw. I quickly evaluated the position, but after he defended c6 didn’t see anything decisive and agreed.

At home Fritz evaluated it as 0.2, so it was an honest offer and right decision for me.


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