The most interesting in that game was a line behind the scenes, a really nice combination. It was a first round in a new season. I was afraid to get a 1-point bye and also didn’t feel quite in shape, so registered in the U1800 section. But they misplaced my registration, I wasn’t paired, so eventually I was paired manually with a guy from the top section. I played him before and had a positive score.

So I got White,  he played French defense. Right away I didn’t like his f6 and after his 8… f5 Houdini thinks that he is -3. I considered 9. Ng5, but thought that after h6 will have to go to h3. But instead of Nh3 computer suggests Nf7!. After 10… Kxf7 11. Ne5+ Kf8 12. Qh5 Qe8 13. Ng6+ Kf7 14. Nh8+ Kf8 15. Ng6+ Kf7 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Nxe7+ Kf8 18. Qxe8+ Kxe8 19. Nxf8 White is up a rook.

But I went to Ng3 and just continued to increase the pressure. On move 11 he missed my strike on f5 and lost a pawn. After I won another two pawns it became a matter of technique. In the pawn ending I didn’t realize until the end of the game that I could penetrate with my king through h4 with a fast win, but the way I choose wasn’t too much longer anyway.

 

 

These words of Akiba Rubinstein should have been my motto last week, on Monday. I played with the guy that having ~1400 rating managed to get 3.5/4 and beat 3 guys in the 1500+ – 1700+ range. So he looked like a “dark horse” and it got me nervous.

I got White and we played Sicilian, Moscow variation. After he played 15… f5, he started an attack on the kingside. I immediately started a counter-play on the queenside. The first crucial moment came when he played 23… Qh5, it was a mistake. I saw Qc8 of course, but didn’t quite like his bishop jumping to h4 with a tempo and also probably didn’t want to leave my kingside without my queen’s protection. Computer says that after Bh4 I could take on b7 and then advance my “b” pawn to b5, then b6, with rooks protecting at the same time my king.

Then I had an advantage after playing 28. Rc7 and again didn’t use his 28… Rf7 and moved back to c2. After 29. Rxf7+   Kxf7 30. Qc2 my queen was terrorizing his queenside. So I missed it and then mistakenly took on g3. From that point he intercepted the initiative and my position started to deteriorate. It didn’t help that I had less than 10 minutes left. The game losing move was 43. Rc1.

I was very disappointed, even more when I came home and saw that I could win.

 

I was able to predict who my opponent could be, looked at our last game and decided to play a bit differently. So, here he was, the guy I played with quite a few times and who 3 month ago was able to escape to a draw due to me missing several chances to win. He had White again and we played Ruy Lopez.

I played pretty fast in the opening and it led to one inaccuracy. After 12. Bxd4 I mixed up the order of the moves and instead of exd4 played Bxf3. He could play 15. Ne2 and get about 0.7 advantage, but by playing Nd5 he went along the same line – 12. Bxd4 exd4 13. Nd5 Bxf3 14. Qxf3. I was OK with the position I got.

The shift in the game started with his 27. Rxe4, after that I knew I am better. Then I saw that if we exchange the rooks, the endgame would be better for me due to his bishop being out of play and weakness of the dark squares on his kingside. He went along. Computer thinks he still was OK, but he had to play f4 on the move 35 or 36. But he played 36. Kf1 and it allowed Qd6 preventing f4.

39. c4 was a decisive mistake, though even after better 39. f4 Qxf4+ 40. Qf2 Qc1+ 41. Qe1 Qxb2 I was two pawns up. 44. Bxd5 could only prolong the agony, but after Bb5 I played b3 and he resigned.

It was a mate in 5 – 45. Qxa5  Qc2+ 46. Ke1 b2 47. Qa7+ Kh6 48. Qxh7+ Kxh7 49. a5 b1Q#.

 

 

“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.