I played yesterday in the old club, unexpectedly my opponent was an old gentleman with whom I had 3 draws before. I had Black, here is the game. After 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 I wanted to play Queen’s Indian, but “automatically” played g6 and realized that the best I could do is to play Benko gambit.  In the first game with this guy  (and first game in this club) we had Benko and it was a draw. This time he accepted the pawn. The game went along the line which I prepared for another opponent, I played quickly spending about 11 minutes on the first 15 moves. I got pressure on the queenside, we exchanged 3 light pieces each.

I was feeling very good in this position. Of course I saw 23… Bxc3 and this Fritz line until 27… Qxf3 with getting pawn back, but I wasn’t sure I like the arising endgame. Looks like it was my only chance to win. Then again on move 26 I didn’t like getting the pawn back because of his exchange on e5, it was my last chance to equalize. And then on move 28 I played pretty quickly Qb7 and saw right away that after Na5, Nc6 I lose an exchange. He didn’t see it, but I was in some kind of shock – how could I miss it, didn’t play well and after 35. a4 realized that I am in a big trouble after 36. b5 with him getting “a” and “b” connected passed pawns and very strong knight on c6. I thought that the best practical chance ( Fritz supported it) was sacrificing an exchange on b4. I expected 37. Qc6, but he played 37. Rc1 and I started to breathe easier seeing that my bishop is strong and supports b4 pawn very well, also his “a” pawn was weak. He saw that too and somewhat unexpectedly gave the exchange back. We had queen and rook each and with his king a bit more open than mine I was having some thoughts.

Then after 43. Qc3 we got to a critical moment of the game. I had 14 minutes left, he 19 and I started to consider counter-attack after Kh6. But then I saw his Rg7 coming and a few lines (not even the worst ones) convinced me that nothing good will happen and I should head for a draw. After 43… Qd4 the guy smiled and said: “Fourth time…”.

After I came home and analyzed the game with Fritz I realized that I overestimated my position and tried to get too much out of it. Equalizing (and possibly drawing) with Black in the gambit with same rated (and nice) guy was definitely not the worst what could happen.