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.

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