November 2014

After my last post I got 4 draws ( and 1 loss ). Three draws were against higher rated opponents, but there was not much interesting happening there. The last draw was really entertaining, so I decided to post it. I had to do a lot of driving that day and needed 20 minutes nap to get myself into more or less “playable” state. My opponent was a little boy, same rating, my score with him +1, =1.  I got Black and we played Slav Defense, exchange variation.

The opening was quite boring and taking into account my physical shape that day I was ready for a draw. After I played c5, he unexpectedly moved his queen to c2. I realized that I am in trouble. I looked at different ways to get out of pin, but didn’t like any of them. Rb5 looked suspicious to me and I was afraid that in my shape I will make a mistake in my calculations and eventually will be without a piece. And yes, computer says I would be worse after e4. The only move saving the situation was a5, I didn’t see it. So, I played Nd7. On move 23 I didn’t want to play g6 taking that square from my knight and played h6, which was not a good move. I could play g5 instead. Then he made a mistake by playing g3, the only right move was Nc3 keeping the advantage. I saw d4 and played it. His exd4 was right, computer in some lines lets dxe3 happened and it is not good for White. After another move he offered a draw, which I accepted.

We did a post-mortem and discussed Kf1 with king escaping to the queenside. He said that he considered it risky. I actually thought that it could be not good for me, but in the shootouts most of the games ended up drawn and one game ended up with Black winning, as black queen developed a lot of activity and took all of the queenside pawns, sacrificing black knight at some point.


It was a first round of Monday’s tournament. My opponent was a guy I lost to once in the past. We played Ruy Lopez.  The goal of 13… cxd4 and all of my following moves was to avoid usual White’s pressure on the kingside with Nf5, etc.  I recently lost in such a game, so didn’t want to repeat it.

I was surprised by his 18. Bxd4, expecting Nxd4 and felt OK after that. But the real surprise was  25. e5. First I thought that it is a trap, but even without much calculation realized that it is not and took the pawn. He said after  the game that it was intentional. Of course he got some initiative, but I was optimistic. On move 29 Fritz found an amazing winning line starting with 29… g6. White can’t move the knight, because following 30… Nh5 31. Qg4 Bd6 creates Nxg3+ threat and if 32. g3 then Qf2.

Anyway, we exchanged queens later and then his 40. a4 somehow unbalanced me. I made a strange 41… Nxa4 instead of a5 and then I am not sure I even saw Bxc8 threat when I played 43. … Nc3, because usually I do not reply to threatening my piece by counter-threat. I saw Rd3 right after I made a move, luckily the same thing as in today’s game 6 of the World Championship  happened and he quickly played 44. Rd7.

Suddenly I found myself defending, trying to relocate my not well placed pieces. I made another mistake playing 51… f5, though not so crucial. I was having a very little time left, reaching 10 seconds at one moment and playing on increment. Then he allowed me to activate my pieces. In the end I could move my king to the center, but got a feeling that it is dangerous taking into account his active king, rook and bishop. So we went for a three-fold repetition and agreed to a draw.

I decided to post these two games together because they were played against the same opponent, though were very different.

Game 1. It was played in the last round of the tournament where I was +2, -3 against lower ( in average ) rated opponents. Interesting that my opponent beat me a few times in 2-3 minute blitz a few rounds before while we waited for the start.

I got Black and he played Torre attack. I was alright until his 14. Rf3, when I didn’t like his attack on the kingside and started to play weird. First I got that idea about exchanging on d2 and then played Ne4 to neutralize his bishop. Then after 17. Rg3  I saw that he can play Bh6 and didn’t realize that I can simply move out my rook. Then I played  18… Nxe5 not even seeing that I will have to give up the queen. I don’t know was it fatigue or a case of chess blindness.

I didn’t want to resign due to the tournament circumstances I described above and decided to organize some kind of attack on the kingside. He simply could play 26. exf4 and after exchanging rooks I had nothing. His next moves weren’t very good defense and suddenly I started to feel that I have a chance. Still it would be equal if he would play 33. h3. Instead he made a decisive mistake with 33. Qh3. He was really under a time pressure at this moment having 10-20 seconds left and playing on 10 seconds increment. After he gave up his queen my win was a matter of technique.

After the game he couldn’t believe he lost and pointed to a exf4 possibility. I could only smile, as I couldn’t believe myself I won.

Game 2.  This game was a first round. I got White and our game quickly transposed into Caro-Kann,  Gurgenidze variation. It was all about positional maneuvering where I tried to keep my two bishops.

33. Qxc4 was ending up with a perpetual, maybe he saw it  as more dangerous that’s why he played bxc4. He offered a draw soon after that, I refused on the base that he had less time and is 200 lower rated. I am not sure that  I wrote down the moves from 36 to 39 correctly, but the position on move 40 is right. On move 45 I already had a bit less time ( both about a minute ) and actually went for a 3-fold repetition. But he played Kg6 ( after the game he told me that he didn’t want repetition ) and it was a decisive mistake. 45… Ke6 would allow him to take on d5 with a king and it would be a draw. I thought that queens exchange given the pawn structure shouldn’t be bad for me and went for it. Then suddenly I realized that I can create a remote passed pawn and it’s a win.

I suffered four losses in a row, so coming to the club I clearly wanted to stop this bad streak. My opponent was a guy I know pretty well and have a score +1, -1 I think. I had Black and we played Four Knights game. After he exchanged bishops on e6 I started to feel comfortable.

His 16. g3 was a mistake, I saw Nxd3 right away, but noticed that he has Ng5+ move. Computer still gives it ~-1, I thought less, but didn’t like going back to g6 with the same Ng5+ and then Qh5, so took on d3. I saw Bd2 too. 19. Kg2 was another mistake, Ne1 was better.

Then I made a mistake myself. Not knowing how to continue better, I offered to exchange queens. I didn’t see that he can sacrifice bishop on h6 afterwards and I can’t take it because of the fork. Of course, all the time I was seeing that he can take on h6, but I still saw the rook standing on f7 and defended by the king. He missed that and I developed a strong attack.

On move 40 I saw a rook sacrifice with mate in 5 and played it. He resigned after two moves seeing the rest – 42. Kf1 Nd3 + 43. Qf4 Rxf4+ 44. Rf2 Rxf2#.