August 2015

This time it was a FIDE Master as I found out when came home. I decided to play Semi-Slav again, though I lost quite a few games with it, just don’t have anything else that could be reliable. This time I think I finally started to feel it and didn’t get into a completely passive position, the price for that was an isolated pawn.

Of course the main line is not 7… h6, but O-O. I didn’t like possible e4, but there is nothing dangerous in it. Until the move 15. Qxb2 we repeated the game played in Russia 16 years ago between two women 2300-2400 rated that ended up in a draw. I equalized after Ne4 and Qf6. Strange that computer doesn’t want to take on e4 – 26. Bx4 dxe4 27. Nxe6 Rxe6 28. Rc8+ Kh7 29. Rc7 and White wins a pawn, leading to a position where White has 4P vs. 2P on the kingside and Black has 2P vs. P on the queenside, evaluating it as only ~0.6 for White.

I kept an equal position between the moves 30 and 50. All shootouts after 50. Ne2 end up in a draw. But then I made a game losing mistake – 50… g5. I tried to defend against Nf4, but it created a weakness on h5 and in some lines a possibility to put the knight on g3.

I forgot that the same defense that allowed me ignore his threat to take on d5 with the knight – 50. Nxd5 Bxd5  51. Kxd5 Kc5 worked also against his threat Nf4. Bishop goes to d5 and then f7 and if Kxe5 then Kc5.

I resisted 14 more moves and lost on time, the game was already over anyway.

It was a first round and I got a master with whom I had =2, -2, all with White. This time again White and French. I knew that on move 6 I had to play Bc4, but didn’t remember how to proceed, so chose 6. Nb3 which is worse.  6… e5 was better than his Nc6, I planned to reply c3 to that, but after 6… e5 7. c3 Nc6 8. cxd4 e4 Black is better.

After exchanges the position became equal, though I thought I was better. He had left 30 minutes vs. my hour when he suddenly offered a draw. I quickly evaluated the position, but after he defended c6 didn’t see anything decisive and agreed.

At home Fritz evaluated it as 0.2, so it was an honest offer and right decision for me.

I knew my opponent a bit, but never played him before. I got White, Ruy Lopez, Deferred Steinitz variation. I remembered about Noah’s Ark Trap and didn’t take on d4 with my queen right away, first playing Bd5. I accumulated some positional by move 30. I criticized after the game his 23… b4, but it is not that bad.

What is a bad is 27… c4, then also 30… Na3 instead of Rc2. Then the crucial mistake is 34… Rcc2 allowing me to me the pawn with two rooks on the board. I ignored his Rxg2 threat seeing that he has nothing there. On move 37 I had a thought to play e7, but then quickly realized that I need to give a check first.