May 30, 2015
It was a second round in the Monday’s club and I got my nemesis – the guy I lost to quite a few times. Is it psychological or his style of play or openings that I didn’t master yet – probably all of it. Unexpectedly I got Black again, so Queen’s Indian.
What I am still missing playing this opening is a clear understanding of the ideas for Black. 5… d5 was not a good move, instead 5… Bb4 6. Nf3 Ne4 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Bd3 f5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 d6 was a way to go. Another positional misstep was 8… exd5 instead of 8… Nxd5 9. Nxd5 Bxd5. You should not close the diagonal for the bishop. Then 10… cxd4 gave him ~0.8 advantage, I had to play 10… Nc6.
Then I missed an opportunity with 12… Nxd4. Of course, I saw 13. Bxh7+ and decided that it was not worth to take the pawn, that it would weaken my kingside. But the position was equal. 12… Rc8 was just bad because of Bf5. He pressured and won the “d” pawn.
Eventually we exchanged most of the pieces and went into a rook endgame. Suddenly he started to play not that well as before, maybe rook endgame is his weakness. It happened once in the past when I missed a chance to win a rook endgame with one strike. He played 33. a4, I saw the answer before and played Rd4. If he instead of that would play 33. b3 then my idea wouldn’t work.
I put my rook behind his pawn according to Tarrasch and everything was fine until move 45, when his king’s movement towards the “b” pawn got me worried and I made that horrible move Kd7 losing the game. The rest is self-explanatory, he just demonstrated some technique.
When I was driving home, I thought what could I do differently and suddenly realized that I did not have to move the king. If his king would approach the “b” pawn, the rook would give checks and the king had nowhere to hide. This all is because the pawn was advanced to b7. The funny thing is he did not realize that either.
The right way was to advance the pawn only to b6 and then move the king, still it’s a draw in this case.
May 24, 2015
It was a last round of the club championship and the result was very important. I got an opponent rated ~1200, but he played really well in this tournament, losing only to expert and master and winning 4 games including beating ~1650 and ~1750 rated. I have to admit that it made me a bit nervous. I got White and we played French Tarrasch with 3… c5.
I knew that I had to play 6. Bb5, but didn’t know how to react to 6… Qb6 (Qe2+ is a good reply), so played 6. dxc5. I had a feeling that I did’t get any advantage in the opening. I spent some time after his 11…Ng6 thinking what if he plays f5, but then found Bd3. After his 20… h6 I saw 21. Ne6+, but realized that he doesn’t have to take the knight. Then after exchanges the position simplified. I allowed exchange on e3 and intentionally played fxe3 to keep the position not too symmetrical. Right after that I created a passed “e” pawn thinking that it can give me some practical chances. According to Fritz the position was equal.
After 37. Qc7 a critical position occurred. The only line that was OK for Black was 37… Qe1+ 38. Kh2 f6, but it looks like not easy to find. He instead made a brutal mistake playing Qb5. I probably wouldn’t play it just from the positional point of view, trying to keep diagonal “h2-b8” under control. The funny thing is I didn’t see the winning line right away and played Qd8+, then realizing it doesn’t give me anything moved back to c7. He gave me a second chance and suddenly I saw a threat – d6 and Qc8+. His best reply could be 40… Qc6, still losing after 41. Qe7+ Kg8 42. Qd8+ Kh7 43. Qc7 and “e” pawn queens.
He played 40. Qe5 and resigned after Qc8+. I finished with the result 5.5/8 (+5,-2,=1), best in 6 year that I participated in the club championships.
May 18, 2015
After I waited for my opponent for about 15 minutes I asked TD if he is going to come. He said: “Yeah, he always comes, but he comes late, maybe to intimidate a bit”. I said: “But he is not Fisher” and calmed down. He came soon and we started to play. Last time we played he moved really fast and it kind of affected me. This time in the opening I played faster. He played e4 and I decided to rely again on my favorite Ruy Lopez. He exchanged on c6 and I played my pet Bronstein variation – 5… Qd6, I won a couple of games in it in the past. I saw that his development was slow and tried to get ahead. Computer thinks that after 14… g4 I had +1 advantage.
Then I got an idea to win his pawn by taking his knight on c4. Fritz thinks that it was better to play gxh2+ and h3. Suddenly I saw that after 19… Qxc4 he can play Rb4 with attack on “b” file and I didn’t like it. So I changed my mind and played c5. But I could hold the position – 19… Qxc4 20. Rb4 Qc5 21. Rab1 b6.
I lost the initiative at that moment and his attack started to develop. I overestimated the strength of it and thought that the only way to change the flow of events is to sacrifice exchange on f3. Interesting that Fritz considers it completely sound and giving +1 advantage to Black. I had to do it on move 30, but didn’t, luckily he didn’t take on h4. Fritz considers his Kg2 a big mistake, which I didn’t use playing Nf6 instead of Nf8 with idea of Ne6 and Nf4+. Nf8 doesn’t allow his queen to get on g5. Anyway, after he played f4 I saw that he planned to play e5 after exf4, but missed my check on c6. 35. Qf1 and 36. Rab2 were bad moves, he couldn’t decide what to do – defend or attack.
After winning a rook I was a piece up and the only problem was the time, it went down to two minutes and I played on 30 seconds increment. Fortunately it was simple enough position to win.
May 9, 2015
I tried to guess my opponent and prepared myself for Sicilian Paulsen. I lost in it to him 3 years ago and wanted to get a revenge. My guess was right and the game went as planned. According to the book 5…Qc7 wasn’t a good move and I could get advantage by playing 7. Qe2 instead of c3.
It seemed to me that I had an initiative, but computer thinks he was OK until he played 20… f5. Even 21… Rf6 was not saving him, since I could play 22. Bxf5 and if Rxf5 then 23. Nxe7 Qxe7 24. Qxf5.
Then he didn’t play the best moves, though his position was lost anyway. When he played 29… Qd6, I already knew what will happen.