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.

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