June 2011

As soon as I learned the pairings, I knew the boy will play his father’s opening – Blackmar-Diemer gambit.  I had Black, here is the game. I played it once against the father, didn’t accept  and drew, though missed winning chances. I decided to play 3… Nxe4 , called Hubsch variation after the game Hubsch – Tarkower, Vienna, 1922 – http://www.chessvideos.tv/replayer-insert.php?id=15037

I just knew that it has better stats, didn’t know about that game, maybe wouldn’t play it. 🙂 The reputation of BDG requires you to be careful. On move 8 I missed a chance to win another pawn. He tried to get some attack and I played c5, eventually creating isolated  pawn and some space for me. Then I saw that I can release the pressure and force exchanges after Nd5. His Bd3 allowed even more, but I went along the line that I calculated before –  taking on g5, then my bishop taking on d3 and still controlling h7. I saw the possible fork on e3 of course, but somehow it got lost between the lines where it was not possible, like  20. Ne3 Bxg6 and missed the Fritz’s line 19… h6 with a big advantage. Anyway I liked my position.

After some play on queenside I managed to win another pawn and finally we got into knight ending. Funny that I was winning the “d4” pawn and then suddenly decided that it’s risky to have my knight hanging with only king’s support not seeing that after 43…Nc2+ 44.Kd3 Nxd4 45.Nc3+ my king can go to e5. Anyway, he made a final mistake – Nc3 and right after that resigned.

I played again with the boy I already played 3 times. It was the first time I had White, here is the game. So Sicilian, Rossolimo variation. Usual plans that people try to pursue with Black are playing in the center or queenside. It looked like my opponent chose to use both. I knew that White’s kingside attack in Rossolimo often is more dangerous than these plans.

I was quietly maneuvering unless he suddenly played f5. I would expect f6, but not f5. I saw that I can attack weakness on e6 right away and decided not to take en-passant. My h4 caused h6 which stopped Ng5, but wasn’t good on the long run. I thought how I can attack and decided to play Nh2 (which Fritz criticized) in order to play g4 afterwards and then it struck me that I can play Qg3 and I saw the idea with Nxg6 sacrifice. He didn’t see it and Nxg6 followed. I don’t think he realized how serious his situation was, after he took a pawn on b2 his queen couldn’t help his king.

I looked for a decisive move and repeated moves couple of times. It’s funny that he offered me a draw at this moment, maybe thinking that I went for 3-fold, I smiled, said “no” and took on b2.  Then I thought that Qxe6 will be not strong enough and played Ng5. He continued ignoring the reality and played Qxc3. Then after Nxe6+ he resigned. Fritz then finds a mate in 8.

It was a guy I played with 2.5 months ago.  I expected him to be one of the possible opponents and looked at our first game.
So, I have Black, Giuoco Piano again, here is the game. I decided to deviate on move 10, playing Qc8, though I didn’t pay attention that White can’t really take on b7 because of Rfb8.  I am sure he saw it, because he didn’t take it in the first game. 11… d5 was the idea from the Fritz analysis of the first game, where I played Nd8 to defend e6 pawn. It kind of worked against me because of his 15. Ne4. I didn’t expect it, otherwise I would pay more attention to 14… Nxd5, which I considered. I wasn’t too worried seeing the following exchanges which weakened my kingside, because not many pieces left. Still, it put me on defense.

After 29. g3  I realized that his attack went nowhere and decided that it’s time to seize the initiative. Engines do not suggest f5 that I played, but do not criticize it either. I missed the nice tactic after his 31. Ne4, but it’s really not trivial. Fritz doesn’t like my 31…  f4 , I agree with that, but it’s my opponent’s answer to it – 32. gxf4, that changed the game. I realized that he got worse right away and started to regroup my pieces for the attack. His exchange sacrifice was actually forced, as Fritz line shows.

The picture looked good, except I was behind on time. It was from the opening and the difference was big, ~20 minutes. I knew that the way to a win was through queens exchange, so eventually I forced it. Then I realized, that it wouldn’t be easy. His pawns on the queenside looked dangerous, so eventually I decided to move my king there, also it would help to play b6. The pawn on b7 was a weakness all throughout the game, now his pawn a5 became a weakness. I had less than 10 minutes at that time, he had about 20. Rg1 looked a bit risky to me, but getting passed “a” pawn and activating the rook looked like the only way to win.
I knew that the knight will have a problem fighting against the rook pawn. Then he allowed me to win another pawn, though in Fritz’s line 59. c5 he is lost anyway. I was considering the exchange sacrifice all the time, suddenly he gave me that opportunity. As soon as I played Rxe3 he resigned. I had 6.5 minutes left, he had twice more.

I said “Great game” a couple of times, etc., sincerely and with an expression that he understood, and he shook my hand again.
He played much better than the first time, all the time I had a feeling that it’s a tough game.

It was an unfortunate combination of me being far out of the city day before again, so tired the next day, the opening that I don’t know well, my positional lapses and opponent’s good play. It was a young guy, I had Black and it started as a Scotch game, here it is.

The line I went along – 6… Nd5 doesn’t have good stats. When I played Qh4 to cause g3, I never thought he will castle queenside because of the open “b” line. So, soon I found myself under attack. He didn’t find the best moves and after queens exchange I thought that my problems are over. I was considering 26… Re3, as Fritz suggests, but didn’t see his 27… Bc4 continuation.
Then I got greedy and took a pawn on g3. I completely underevaluated his threats. After that the game went downhill. Soon I realized that my king’s position will cost me the game. It was exactly what happened.

It was a middle-aged guy I never played before. I had White and played Ruy Lopez, here is the game. We went along Chigorin variation and my 13th move wasn’t very good, though he didn’t use it  (it allowed exd4 and you can’t take on d4 because of Qxc2, though in some lines White gets his pawn back). Then it looked like I got slightly better position, but I decided to play obvious 27. Be3. I completely missed his Nbxd5 after rooks exchange. it’s funny that he overplayed the combination making move Nf4, but I thought that after I move the queen he will play Nxd3, e4 with the fork, not seeing that if I take on d3 with the rook, I have Rxd6.  I lost a pawn, also he had 2 bishops.  He was spending more time than me, so I tried to make the play as complicated as I could. You will see, it actually worked in the end.

Meanwhile we reached 50 m0ves,  I ran to get a new scoresheet and after return played h5 quickly, noticing right away what will happen. I was already  thinking how many more moves I will flounder about, but suddenly he played Qc1, forcing queens exchange. You understand how I felt, it’s like somebody threw me a life ring. I quickly exchanged the pawns on the queen side, blocked his pawns movement and started moving my pieces back and forth.  I was writing moves until move 65, so the rest is my best recollection, except the final position, which is exact. I wanted to play 68… Kf5, but then thought that it would be risky to move my king too far from the “d” pawn. The analysis shows that there was a clear draw after I was taking f6 pawn. At some moment I told him: “Looks like a draw”, he answered: “Let’s try something” and played 80… h5.  With 90% probability there was a position shown after move 86, because I don’t remember having my bishop on h1 or h3, as Fritz suggests. I had less than 2 minutes at that moment, he – 15-20 seconds more. Then suddenly to my great pleasure it came to a draw.

He was somewhat disappointed of course, but appreciated the game. I praised his combo, which was good indeed. He realized that going into the bishops endgame was wrong and explained, that he was worried about playing endgame  with the queens while having a little time (he had a few minutes less than me at that moment).

The lesson is – there is no automatic wins or draws, you have to do your best and then Kaissa decides. 🙂  Looking at Fritz’s analysis of the endgame, you can draw one conclusion – if opponent’s king attacks your bishop, you should be very careful with defending it with your king, in two lines it allowed to opponent to make a beneficial pawn move.

I prepared mostly for one specific opponent going to the club yesterday. I lost to him recently, very painfully and there was also another reason to try to win that game at all costs. I found that he plays 1. d4 … 2. c4 and that he lost 2 games playing against Benko. I prepared against the line (not very good one) that he played. I come to the club and here we go  – I get him. Of course Benko follows, here is the game.

On move 10 he deviates,  still I feel very confident and play accordingly. Maybe because of that, but rather him being not in very good shape, he misses a fork. It changes the character of play, since he now has a better control of e5, with my knight gone and rook + queen on “e” vertical.

My 17… Nb6 was not very good, Qb6 would keep a clear advantage. 20… e6 is not good either, creating weaknesses. Then I make a bad mistake playing 24… Ra6 and not seeing 25. Ng5. He doesn’t see it too .

His e5 looks like “hope chess” to me. I see that there is no immediate danger and take the pawn. After 28. Kh1 it was a funny moment, when I was so sure that I am better that I even wanted to stay under discovered attack and play Ra2, because I didn’t see where knight can jump to do the damage. Then a had a gut feeling, that it’s not good to stay under attack, he can play Nxg6 or something, so I decided to play cool Kg8. And exactly at that moment I saw Ng4+ (if king would stayed). That move back somehow dropped out of my attention. Can you imagine it?

And then he plays Nc7?? Of course, Ra2 follows and he resigns. He said that he saw Ra2 before, but then he forgot. The revenge could be better, but I’ll take it.

I played on Monday, it was a boy with whom I played G/15 2 weeks before, he blundered a piece and lost. This time it was more interesting, though still not very long. He had White and played Scotch gambit, here is the game.

Having two bishops I wasn’t afraid of his f5, though knew that I should be careful. He made a mistake right after that and the picture changed dramatically. He continued to play ignoring development of his queenside and I decided to use it. Soon he lost  piece and resigned.