I played yesterday in the new club and my 9-game non-losing streak (+5, =4) ended. My opponent was an “A” class guy with whom I played at the Labour Day tournament in 2009 and drew. This time I also had White and we played the same Fantasy variation of Caro-Kann, here is the game. He deviated on move 4 and played a novelty – a6. I understood the sense of it when I saw 6… c5. It reminded me French Tarrasch, Open variation and I decided to follow it. I just waited for the right moment to create an isolani for him, though a couple of times he could avoid it. I actually liked my position, but then I think I got a wrong idea with 23. Ne6, at least Fritz prefers 23. b4 and now I tend to agree.  Anyway, his d4 followed and it complicated things. Fritz still thinks I could even get better after 26. Rc1. I saw, of course, his Nd4, decided to sacrifice an exchange, even saw him returning the exchange with 29… Rxd5, but then made a fatal mistake playing right away cxd5. I thought that after Rc1+ my king can escape through g2 to h3, but…  My intuition  had to tell me that it’s bad to have his rook on the first line and his queen ready to join. I won so many games in blitz thanks to such penetration…

I just had to stop after Rxd5 and think a bit. The thing is that Re8+ wasn’t possible before, I was looking at this possibility all the time, but it became possible now, after one rook left the 8th line. After rooks exchange there is nothing dangerous for me anymore and the game would end in a draw. Just one intermediate check.

After 32… Rh1 I realized that I have to exchange the queens to avoid his threats and saw that it would cost me 2 pawns. Fritz says that I didn’t have to exchange queens, but still gives me -2.24. After getting into the bad rook endgame I was upset and also had less than 15 minutes left.  It probably explains my moves, not the best ones. I lost soon another pawn and resigned.

OK, nothing lasts forever and I definitely can learn something from this game.