October 2011

I came yesterday to the club with a strong desire to win. I had to improve my standing, otherwise my rating was going down. I got unexpected White with an expected opponent, man, probably 40+, So Sicilian, Rossolimo variation, here is the  game.  He misplayed the opening and already after move 10 he gave up a pawn.  He tried to organize counterattack on the kingside. I spent probably too much time on thinking about breakthrough d5, then decided just defend for now. It was all good until move 26, except time. I had I think less than a half an hour, he had more. I decided that I don’t have time to win an endgame (this club is just 90/SD), so I played 27. g4. After the game I told him, that I think it was a mistake and it was. Most importantly, I gave him some chances instead of just strangling him.

After he played 29… f4 tactical complications started. I pinned his bishop in a  few moves, but miscalculated with exchange on h3. He played Bf1 and as soon as he took his hand off the bishop he loudly regretted it, saying he should have played Bf5. Yes, I saw only Bf1 and was losing after Bf5. Anyway, I got an advantage, but didn’t have much time left, probably less than 5 minutes. I realized that I should stop writing the moves when I had a bit more than 2 minutes. He had maybe 9-10 minutes, so I got a bad feeling. I tried to keep my rooks on one line and eventually started to move my king into his territory. The only idea I had was to somehow attack his king, I didn’t have time for anything else.

When I had about 35 seconds, I took his “e” pawn with a rook, suddenly he took my king and shouted that he won. It was an illegal move, leaving me under check. He wanted TD, I tried to stop the clock,  didn’t press “pause” right away and lost 7 seconds. Then TD (actually the guy who just decided to replace him) said, that he gets 2 minutes and I get a warning. We finally agreed and resumed the game. I got mad and decided to play until the bitter end. He took my “a” pawn and I managed to win his three pawns. Then I saw that I have a mate on “a6”  with a rook. He didn’t prevent it, so I played Ra6 and he shouted that the move is illegal (my rook was pinned). This time we resumed right away, I played different move and then he suddenly took the rook with the queen and when I recaptured, he said loudly with disappointment: “Draw!”. My clock was showing 5 seconds left. I nodded I think and the game ended. I was in such a state that couldn’t really understand what just happened. I asked the people around and they told me, that it was a stalemate after my move. They said that probably a mate was coming and he saw it.

I restored the position at home, it looked like this. Computer found a nice win with a rook sacrifice, I intended to move the “b” pawn, don’t know if I had actually time to mate him.

I thought about the second illegal move, weren’t the people too supportive of me  (they didn’t like his behavior) . I read the FIDE rules, they say:

“… for the first two illegal moves by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent in each instance; for a third illegal move by the same player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player.”

So, everything went according to the rules (it is good to know them by the way).

I played with the young, 25+ guy, had White. We got Sicilian defense, Moscow variation, here is the game. It looked like my opponent wasn’t familiar with it, spending a lot of time on every move, still finding the right ones. Then on a move 12 he thought no less than 50 minutes. I thought he was thinking about d5. Also I realized that he is rusty, didn’t play for a long time – it was an only explanation for all of this. Finally he played Ne5. When I played Rc1, I thought that maybe it’s not a good idea to place rooks ready for the fork, but decided to be careful and shoo off the knight soon. He had less than 20 minutes and accelerated. I had an hour more.

After d5 things started to happen faster.  I made a bad move Nxd5 that could cost me a game. He noticed after the game about 17… Rc1, but even then he didn’t realize how bad it was for me. After he missed a win, I managed to make probably one good move for the whole game – Nf5. After all the exchanges the pawn “a7” was here for me on the silver plate. But I didn’t like his Rc2 and didn’t use this chance. In the post-mortem he said that I could play Re2 after Rc2 and his knight is in a grave danger.

After 23… Nc6 he offered a draw. I looked at the position, at the clock (he had less than 15 minutes vs my ~ hour) and refused. I thought that the endgame bishop vs. knight that we came to is better for me, but it looks like I somewhat screwed it up. I the end I considered 39.  Bxf4+, but miscalculated, not seeing that he can move his “g ” pawn instead of “h” one and get the queen first. Anyway, he didn’t play it and after we both moved our pieces back he offered a draw again. He had about 3 minutes, I had 15-20, but I didn’t see any reason to continue playing and agreed. He said that he didn’t play for 5 years, in 2006 he played a lot including Canadian Open.

Yesterday, I come to the club after two weeks break. I am paired with the boy I played some time ago and won in BDG with Black. Same story, I have Black, he plays 1. d4 and 2. Nc3, then deviates with f3, here is the game. Soon it transforms into something very French-like. My 10…  Na3 is not good, I am afraid that after 10… Nc6 11. dxc5 bxc5 he can attack my “c5” pawn, but 10… cxd4 doesn’t come to my mind.

For some time I am on defensive and 15… f6 is another not good move. Then after 18… Nc5 I feel that I start to intercept the initiative. Playing long planned 26… Nd5 I miss Qc6. I see right away that his 28. Ba6 is bad and find Rc3. Then the most critical moment of the game comes. I see Rx3 and finally play it, but I do not calculate the following 34… Qd8 winning the game. I think I saw it, but it’s a queen! Never mind that I take on e3 with a check. I think it’s somewhere here, after taking on d4, he offers a draw. I refuse. Then I see a plan with e3 sacrifice and execute it. I pursue his king and want to force an endgame which with a passed “h” pawn looks good. He suddenly plays 47. Qd6. This move looks very strong to me, I see that he threatens with perpetual or even mate. I am behind on time. I eventually win “c4” pawn, but still do not see how I actually can win. I consider Qc5, but then see that he can win e6 pawn and continue with checks.

After move 54 he offers a draw again. I make some unclear sign and start to think. He has 28 minutes, I, after a couple of minutes of thinking, go down to 6. I feel that I won’t be able to stand a loss – on time or making a mistake on a flag in this game which I think I played pretty well and agree to a draw. Of course when I come home, I see that I had an advantage, but the most disappointing thing is to see how I missed a win after Rxe3.

This expression came to my mind not right after yesterday’s game, but in 24 hours, after the game finally sank in my head. My opponent was the guy to whom  I lost 5 months ago having +3-+4 advantage. This time he had White and played Giuoco Piano, here is the game.  The first opportunity I missed was 12… Nxe4, giving me 2 bishops and very good play. Of course, why there should be  tactics in this quiet position? I didn’t have a specific plan. After his Nd4 I decided to play c5, realizing that I create a weakness, but hoping I can defend d6 pawn and will have counterplay on “f” vertical.

He started to press on “d”, I tried to keep the balance. After a good move 29… Ng5, which I made to create some threats on the kingside seeing that he wins my c5 or d6 pawn, I failed to see the combination after 30. Nxc5. I saw 30… Rdf8 31. Rxd6, but the only continuation I considered was Rxf2 and I didn’t like it.

I got worse and then I was given another opportunity to get back into the game after his 37. Ne3. I saw Ng5 and the following fork, but couldn’t think clearly, couldn’t calculate the line after queens exchange and thought that I lose material there – in reality I was winning a rook, so he would play instead something like the line that computer suggests, giving me pretty playable position. I only can say that I was probably nervous and had less than 10 minutes on the clock. After that it all went downhill, the rook endgame, into which I was kind of lulled, was completely lost for me. I was playing only on the increment, having 1-2 minutes on the clock. I probably could have resigned earlier, it was a last game, people were looking and it was nothing to show.

It is sad to see how I missed three tactics, first two giving me an advantage, though not decisive, but I wouldn’t lose the game at least as I did, and the third one was a good chance to draw.