December 2013

Unlike my favorite Magnus Carlsen who gets a win by grinding his opponent, in the last two rounds of the tournament after grinding my opponents and having a winning position in the end I got nothing (a draw with a much lower rated opponent).

After I got only 1 point (2 draws and a loss) in the first three rounds, I decided just try to play a good game. I had a +3, =1 score with my opponent, but decided not to take him lightly. He had White and played Queen’s gambit. I wasn’t intimidated by his aggressive g4, but  decided to be careful.  The intention of 10… Nd5 was to close the diagonal, I also considered the knight sacrifice on f7 and thought that Bf6 should be enough to defend. After long thinking he played Nxe6. I am really proud of my 14… N7b6, as Fritz plays the same. Then I found that there are more threats than I thought and his bishops are very dangerous. My exchange sacrifice was planned right after 16… e5, but after my king got on g8 it actually wasn’t necessary, because after 18. Bh5 computer recommends Rh7  with ~-2 evaluation.

I still considered the position after move 21  dangerous and went for the queens exchange. Computer thinks it was a big mistake with my advantage dropping by almost 2 points. I still had some, but my Be7 made the position equal. Soon after rooks exchange he offered a draw, I refused. I was feeling the power of my bishop and knight playing together and decided to try to win. The funniest part started when he lost his pawns. I realized that if he gives up his rook for the pawn I don’t know how to mate with B+N. So I tried not to let him do that. He also had essentially less time, so I could just ignore this idea of rook sacrifice and even with B+N try to pretend that I want to mate him. I didn’t write down my last moves because of the time left being less than 5 minutes. What happened was that with him having a few seconds left I put my bishop, king and knight on one line and after taking the bishop he sacrificed the rook for the knight and declared a draw. He had 3 seconds remaining.

I just realized that he still had to take my pawn, though his king was nearby and probably was able to do it in time. I will add the next game to this post later.

It is exactly how I felt during this game of the first round of the big tournament. The guy got White and we played Queen’s gambit Slav, Exchange variation. I misplayed it and had to go back with my bishop. Still I was OK until I played these bad moves Nh5 and f6. Right after f6 I saw Bc7. He played it and I got into trouble.

Then after Nh4 I thought that I lost the game, that’s how bad it looked. Amazingly he played 20. Bg6 and I saw f5 right away. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Then I  probably played it too safe, computer doesn’t like at all my queens exchange. For the price of the pawn I eventually got all my pieces in play and after 45… Rc4 I felt that I am winning. But the guy was not in  a hurry to agree… My Na3 was the right move, but 49… fxe4 was of course a mistake, g6 was keeping the fort. The same g6 that I played one move later could cost me a game after f5, as it is losing by force due to a two passed pawns and remote knight. He didn’t see it.

The play continued and then he played 54. h4, to which computer puts ?? comment because of Nxe5. Would you believe me if I will say that I considered Nxe5 at least a few times? But it seemed to me that his king gets to the pawns in time. What I didn’t see was that my king after eliminating “b” pawn succeeds in taking “e” pawns too. And the last thing I didn’t see with 8 minutes remaining (no increment) is that I could play 56… h5 and get my king to c6. Still, natural Kxb6 allowed him to get a draw after f5 and my king is too far. So, only careful maneuvering with  a knight and a king wins here. After 58. Kb5 he said it was a 3-fold repetition. I didn’t see a win, so agreed to a draw without even checking the score sheet.

I can only add that the guy played really well later at the tournament and shared a second place with 4/5.