February 2012


It was the same opponent I played a month ago, again I had White, again Ruy Lopez. This time I decided not to allow Open variation, so played d3, here is the game. I got a somewhat passive position after the opening, then after Nf4 he started to think heavily, I knew it was about Nxg2. I didn’t think I should be afraid or could prevent it, so just moved another knight there. He had only 25 minutes left, when he did play it.

I miscalculated the threats after Kh1 and played Kg1, it was worse. After Be5 I thought for a moment that this is it, but found f4. After Rh5 I saw Bxf7, but also saw that I can attack the rook with Bd1 and liked it more. Finally he had to give up an exchange and I started to think that I have a chance to win, especially taking into account his time trouble. This time I didn’t want to be nice, I wanted to win, I was sure he didn’t think about a draw when sacrificed on g2.

I played rather obvious and not the best moves, starting from 33. fxg6+. He didn’t use it and eventually blundered with 38… Qg7. He had no more than minute left at this time, I had much more. The game was over after that and after a few moves he resigned.

Interesting that he joked before the game that Russians are playing with Canadians, good that it’s not hockey. I got it after I looked around and on the left there was a Russian speaking boy I know well and on the right there was a Russian-speaking man I played once. Funny that the boy drew and we won,  so the score was 2.5:0.5,  though  I have to add that we all had White.

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It was a strange game.  I got White, with a boy I played 4 times before, =3, -1.
I knew he would play Petroff, so I decided to try a new line I looked at some time ago, here is the game. I didn’t expect f5, then thought I’ll try to get two bishops. Then for some reason I decided to exchange the queens.

We played with a 30 seconds increment, nevertheless I played unusually fast, spending 22 minutes on 28 moves.  First it costed me a win, when I automatically played prepared move 22. Rxa7 missing that I can win a knight. Then it almost costed me a game. Instead of attacking with a 26. Rc8 (not sure that I would find all other moves like g4, that Houdini suggested) I got that bad idea about exchanging the rooks, thinking that I will have a better B vs. N endgame.
It was a mistake, I lost a pawn and realized that I have to fight hard for a draw.
My strange, don’t care mood that evening helped me at this moment, I switched to the defending mode without delay.

After my 36th move objectively it was lost, though a win required exact play from him. But he made a mistake, which I didn’t use playing 41. Bf6. He had a win in his hands, but lost a crucial tempo with 42… b3. I played exactly from this moment, bringing my king to the queenside.

It was a funny position after move 48, when he couldn’t take my bishop on a1. Since then it was a draw, he tried to do something, I just tried to play carefully and watched for 3-fold repetition, still missed one – after White moves 62, 64 and 72. Anyway, eventually he realized that it’s a draw and basically forced it.