March 2010

I didn’t play last Thursday (had to take a bye), so I decided to post a correspondence chess game that I won recently. It’s a thematic Ruy Lopez tournament, I was Black and played Marshall attack, here is the game. I would define Marshall attack as “fast and furious” and I think I was able to follow that definition in this game. White’s move 16. Nd2 was too slow, allowing 16… f5 and 17… f4, and then a mistake let Black to make a typical sacrifice. White’s 25. Bf4 was the best, still losing an exchange and getting into the lost endgame.

This position is from one of my blitz games.  I am Black.

Imagine that you are a gladiator, your opponent lost and you see thumbs down – the public wants him dead.
How would you finish him off?  Black to move (the answer is here).
I played against an expert tonight,  second rated guy in our section.
He was 20 minutes late.  He was White and played Reti opening,  here is the game.
I tried again to transform it to Anglo-Grunfeld.
Funny thing, already his 5th move was a surprise to me.  I thought for a while, and only at home I realized why he looked at me with a bit of something like despise.  It was a fist choice move. Anyway, I found the right reply, later too, following the 1st line until move 11.  It was actually him, who played first a second choice move – 12.Qxe7.
I went a bit along the game – Xu Hanbing (2235) vs. Dembo (2341), ½-½,  then continued my own way just trying to equalize  (not without success).  On move 21 we had completely equal position, I had 1 hour,  he – 40 minutes.  He offered a draw, and since the position was simple my time advantage wasn’t important, so I agreed.
It is not a fantasy :),  I defeated an expert in Caro-Kann,  fantasy variation, delivering a Boden’s mate after rook sacrifice on move 23. Here is the game, I was White. It was the same guy a drew a few months ago with him having 30 seconds left on the clock. After some struggle where I never was worse, we came to a position, where I had some pressure and two bishops. After 21. Rxd6 I noticed that if the knight won’t be on e5, there is a possibility of Boden’s mate (mate with two bishops, I remembered the pattern, not the name at that moment).  Still it was a bit of shock when he played 22…Nf7. I checked again and played 22. Rxc6+, he resigned. He was very nice afterwards (as during/after our first game), not only doing post-mortem, but also showing a few guys how he got mated. If not this combination, I planned to use my two bishops (don’t know if I would succeed), Fritz gave me half a pawn advantage.
A month ago I played against  Qxd5 variation in French, Tarrasch and yesterday I got it again.  This time it was an expert, rated 300 higher than me, here is the game. I played the opening better than the first time and was equal after it. Then he started to improve the position of his pieces unless he made a move Rae8. I decided it’s a moment to exchange his bishop on a long diagonal, and then he started rooks/queens exchange. Fritz didn’t quite like the latter one,  saying I would be equal without it.  Anyway we went into B+N vs. B+N endgame and bishops were soon exchanged too.  I got a protected passed pawn on “c4”, he had a pawn majority in the center.
He advanced the pawns on the kingside and I thought that it’s time to counterstrike with h4. The move looked good, but as soon as I made it I realized that he can play f3! and get 2 passed pawns on “h”, which I didn’t like at all. But he didn’t see it and made a move losing a pawn. Finally all the pawns on the kingside disappeared. Fritz evaluated the position as difficult to win with me having only 0.43 advantage. My time, which was always less than his by 15-20 minutes finally approached 10 minutes (vs. 20) when he made a mistake.
I didn’t see it, played a wrong move 62. a6 and after 62… Kb6 he offered a draw. The proof of me not thinking clearly at that moment is that I refused it. The guy looked somewhat offended  (by the way I actually expected him to do it much earlier in the game, not wanting as much lower player to do it myself, but he probably waited for my mistake in the time trouble). Anyway,  in a few moves the draw became inevitable. I had a feeling that I missed something and of course Fritz  told me that 62. Nf1 was winning. A little consolation can be found in a fact that the move doesn’t look obvious and in a shootout it took Fritz and Crafty a 13-ply depth to win,  with 9 or 11-ply they drew. But if you get an idea that the “a” pawn is untouchable and the key to win is to get his “b”  pawn,  getting 2 pawns in the knight ending then maybe you can win somehow, taking into account that you are not playing against Fritz or Crafty.
Anyway, not a bad result and I like this Tarrasch draw more than the first one.
It seems me I should spend some time on this variation, as you guys said before – it became a mainline.