November 2010

This quote, belonging to Savielly Tartakower, pretty much describes my last game, here it is. I played yesterday in the new club.  I got the boy with whom I played recently in the old club and won the lost game after he started to make mistakes in the time trouble. I was Black again and as in the first game didn’t want to try his aggressive Italian game variation and went for Petroff. Right away it transformed into Four Knights game. I never was a fan of it, but half a year ago won a game with Black. I had to play 5…. Bb4, considered it, but for some silly reason which I don’t remember played d6 instead. So I got into a this kind of a position that you get in Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz variation. I often get it online with White and have about 80% score, the difference is that here I had Black. The perspectives after f4 didn’t look too bright, but I saw Nxe4 strike, though before the castle it was premature. We castled, after h6 he played Bh4 and here we go. After winning a pawn maybe I relaxed a bit and didn’t expect his Ne7+, probably because of the ghost of knight on c6. He got his pawn back.

Then on move 22 I didn’t notice his Nxf7, after which, though I got the pawn back taking on b2, I had a feeling that his pieces were more active and my king was not as safe as before. I decided not to hold to my central pawns seeing that “d” pawn is easily blocked by the knight.

The time was going, I had about 20 minutes left and he a bit less when he quickly took on d4 with his rook. It was a decisive tactical blunder, after Qxd4 he tried Qxa8 but when Qf2 followed he resigned.

Another expression of Dr Tarrasch that is pretty much relevant. I played on Thursday in the old club, here is the game. My opponent was the guy rated first in our U2000 section. I didn’t expect him, so was completely unprepared to his Sicilian e6. My history with it is bad, -2, though in the second game I was essentially better after the opening. It was one time preparation, d3 line, I completely forgot it.
So, I played 3. c3 – delayed Alapin variation, my Bb5 move wasn’t good at all from the statistical point of view. Anyway, somehow I got myself out of the opening, he showed some activity on the queenside. I decided to play on the kingside, but after 15. Ng5 h6 16. Nh3 realized that f4-f5 is not possible because of Ng3-Nh4-Nf5, also I had to neutralize his queenside threats. Fritz prefers 15. g3 and then h4. I was holding on until he offered queens exchange.  I wasn’t too excited about it, but it looked like white queen can become pretty annoying. Fritz plays it too, still …  I thought that I can hold the position with a rook and with a king coming to help, but didn’t see the threat of 29… Rd3, had to play Rd2 and it allowed c3 breakthrough.  As a result of it I lost a pawn.
He got behind in time having less than 20 minutes vs. my 35. I got a feeling that I can expect a draw offer. Then he made a mistake allowing me to play Re7, attacking his pawns. I was counting all variations when, still suddenly, he offered a draw. He had at that moment about 17 minutes left vs my 31 minute. After the game he admitted that f6 was a mistake and a5 was a way to go. Still, he didn’t see how his king could penetrate and thought that it would rather be a draw.
I ran a few shootouts between Fritz and Crafty starting from 35. Re7, they all ended in a draw. Fritz with Black won 2 shootouts that started from 34. Rb7, Crafty drew with Black another two.

This phrase belongs to Dr Siegbert Tarrasch, I learned it after the game.  I am glad I actually followed it. I played in the new club yesterday. My OTB hunger (4 games in 4 months) had to be somehow satisfied, so I finally decided to go there. There were some people from my club,  also some new faces. It’s a great location/playing hall, they get new members every week, so there were 8 games already. Interesting that I played with the guy I mentioned in the comments to my previous post, 10-year old boy – former U8 Canadian champion. I played with him last summer, drew and this game was somewhat similar, the big difference was that then he was rated  400 lower than now, I was rated 120 lower and now his rating is higher than mine. Exactly as in the previous game, I won a pawn on the middlegame and then due to some moment of blindness (not blunder) kind of gave it back with the final position being equal.

I had White,  he played Petroff defense, here is the game. I only played 2 Petroff games before, one with Black, one with White, but those were the games where my opponents didn’t know the opening well, I got 2 bishops and positional advantage and won both games. Here we followed the mainline until move 11. I knew he can attack well, so I decided to play a solid game. His c5 was unexpected, but then I thought that my isolated pawn is well defended and I can use some pluses that it can give, like open lines. After 20. Rxc4 I had kind of vision that his pieces are not standing well and I found several simultaneous threats. It was d5, Qxd5, Rxb4, or a3 and then Qxb7 or Ne5 with attacking Nc6. He defended against d5, funny that I considered Ne5 the least dangerous and it was the most by Fritz. Here another plus of isolated d4 pawn – support of Ne5 would come handy.

Anyway I won a pawn and then tried not to give him too much counterplay and simplify the position. After 29… Nc3 he suddenly offered a draw. I saw that I am about to lose my “a” pawn, but also had an idea based on pinning his knight, so I said “Wait a bit”,  smiling. His f6 proved that he saw all this, but here instead of stopping and thinking I moved by inertia, played a6 and let the win slip. Taking the knight – 34.  Bxc3 was keeping my spare pawn. We got into a knight endgame where his “a” remote passed pawn was counteracting my “d” pawn and active king position. Sometime during that endgame he offered draw again, I said again – “wait a bit”. After 42… Nd6  I didn’t see how I can win and I asked if his offer still stands. We agreed to a draw. He showed that I could win a pawn after 43. Ne6, and then if g6 – Nf8, but said he intended to move his “a” pawn and it’s probably a draw anyway. Fritz plays a5! right away after Ne6 and recommends me not to take on g7, but go back, otherwise his pawn goes down to a2, my knight has to stand on a1 and it’s even a few tenth better for Black. I just generally knew that knight is a bad fighter against the rook pawn.  To be sure it was a draw I ran 4 shootouts between Fritz and Crafty from 42… Nd6 – 11 and 13-ply, they all ended in a draw.  Out of 2 shootouts ran from  possible 34.  Bxc3 one ended in a win for White, another didn’t finish with 2.5 advantage.

So, it could be better, but I am still satisfied with my play and result against a good opponent in a new place and a practically new opening.

I played yesterday in the club, my opponent was 10-year old boy. I knew him  a bit, he played with my kid a few years ago. I was Black, knew that he plays some kind of aggressive Italian game  (I don’t like this opening), also having lost 2 last games with 1… e5 I decided to change decorations and play French, here is the game.

I got Advance variation and until move 12 played well, getting rid of his “good” white-colored bishop. Then I also decided to get rid of my bad bishop and it wasn’t a good idea, I lost my advantage.Then I played 16… a5, a prophylactic move against b4, which could cause me problems I thought. I saw Qb5 right after I played a5 and I knew that I will lose a pawn. The consequences were worse than that, I eventually lost  a piece for a pawn. I got angry and decided to fight until the end, noticing that he got behind in time. It looked like he didn’t have a plan how to win, at the same time spending more time than me on every move. Then he missed a threat and lost a passed pawn. It calmed me down a bit, I realized that with me having passed pawn and all his pawns on the kingside he will have to spend essential time to win. It was his 10 minutes vs. my 20 and he played Rg8. First I wanted to defend my g7 pawn and play Nf6, but something was wrong. I especially had my rook on the first line to harass the bishop. So suddenly I saw that bishop was left unprotected… After  a few moves he offered me a draw.  Having a spare passed pawn and twice more time I refused. I manuevered, he didn’t go for the knights exchange (I couldn’t advance my pawn without it), then he missed a simple combo. That was it, though he resisted until got mated with queen and knight, I stopped writing the moves when my time got under 5 minutes. I praised him, of course, then talked to his parents in Russian. I said that he played very well unless he blundered in time pressure.They said, that he gets sometimes in time trouble in 90/G format, plays worse and loses games. Recently, they said, he got 3-rd place in U2100 section of 2/30, SD/1 tournament. It explained something. I told them that he should play blitz, but they said no. Maybe they are afraid that he will get a habit to play “not deep”.

Later I realized, that there were 2 parts in this game. In the first part I screwed up the end of the opening and the middlegame, not feeling the position, so not seeing the right moves. He played very well, calculating like a pro.Then in the endgame, under time pressure, he played essentially worse, making 3 mistakes, 2 of them crucial. I played well, finding resources to resist and using tactical possibilities that he gave me (winning a pawn and a knight). My rich blitz experience paid off.