February 15, 2016
This game was played a week ago, in the first round. I got a master, had White, in 5 games before with French in all of them the score was =3, -2 . French again, this time for diversity sake I decided to play an Exchange variation.
It was going well, the opening and the early middlegame. After move 35 I even thought I have an advantage, but the game was equal, he was careful enough to move his king. Around move 40 the game was absolutely equal, I just had to stay cool. But maybe because of the time pressure, I suddenly decided to play f4, probably it was a desire to open up his king. This move was still OK, but if you say “A” you have to say “B” – I had to play 44. Qf5 and if 44… Qxb6 then 45. Qg4+ Kf7 46. Qd7+ Kf8 47. Qxd5 and it was equal. Instead I played Qb4, the move that I had to play instead of f4. Of course he exploited it and got an advantage.
Then I saw that I can answer his f3 with 48. Qc7+, but decided that after 48… Qxc7 49. bxc7 f2 I will be pawn down in the arising queen endgame. He told me after the game, that he could play 48… Kg6, but after 49. Qxg3 fxg3 50. gxf3 it is a draw. So I had a chance and I missed it. Instead I played horrible gxf3, lost both “h” and “f” pawns and was going to lose. I resisted, thought at some moment that maybe I will get a perpetual, but he made the exact moves and I resigned.
February 14, 2016
My opponent was a man, who plays as long as I am playing, first our game was in 2008. I think our score is +2, -1. He had White, Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation. My goal in it lately is to avoid by any means a quiet White’s buildup on the kingside, the knight placed on f5 is of course an important part of it.
19. Nd5 really changed a character of the game for me. After 19… Nxd5 20. exd5 f6 I got a good feeling. The pawn on d5 didn’t look dangerous and my position looked very solid. Then again I was not worried about his Nh4 because I had f5. Then a strange thing happened. I was watching his knight and saw that I can’t play g5 because he would take on f5. From another point of view I didn’t want to play e4 because of the Qd4 with the forced queens exchange. So I played Bg7 not seeing that after 25… e4 , 26… g5 he loses the knight on h4.
Then I made another mistake giving up all my advantage after exchange on h4. 29… Qc6 was intended not to let him to put his queen on d5, attacking pawn on e5. It was still his best option – to play Qd5 with an equal position. His 32. Re1 gave an advantage to me again. 33. Qe2 was another mistake and then he suddenly took on e5. He probably thought that I will play 36… Rxc6, but I saw a knight check winning a piece.
The arisen endgame was pretty simple, it was good because I really got down on time. I stopped writing the moves having less than 5 minutes and got under 1 minute at some point. Still, in the end I managed to block his passed “b” pawn and created my own on the kingside. Eventually he resigned when my pawn was about to queen with a mate.
February 13, 2016
I played this game on Monday, almost two weeks ago. I got an opponent to whom I lost some time ago. He had White and played Giuoco Piano. His 5th move was not usual. I quickly considered taking on e4, but it looked risky, so I decided to castle. It was still OK, though after 5… Nxe4 6. Bd5 Nf6 7. Nxc6 dxc6 8. Nxe5 it was equal and after 5… Nxe4 6. d4 d5 7. exd4 cxd4 I was better.
But then after 6. d4 I took on d4 and it was a mistake. 6… Bb6 was keeping the balance, after 7. dxe5 Ng4 9. Bf4 Qe8 9. Qd5 Ne7 10. Qd2 Ng6 Black was getting the pawn back. Even 6… Bd6 wasn’t bad at all.
After 8. e5 he got an advantage. 12. Ne7 was not a good move, d6 was better. 14. Nxd5 was a decisive mistake, only after it I saw the threat of f6 and Qg5. My position was indefensible and after his 24. Rxg7 the game was over.
I was disappointed that I forgot the lessons that I learned many years ago about not giving up the center in the Open games. It was also important lesson to calculate right from the opening. You should rely on your intuition when it is too difficult to calculate or you don’t have enough time, but here I had 90 minutes ahead of me, not even counting 30 seconds increment. After 5… Nxe4 he would never have that center.
February 6, 2016
I played this game last week, on Thursday. I had White and went for an Open Sicilian, don’t remember the last time I played it. I still remembered that I should be careful of Bc5 and Qb6, also of Bb4. 5. Be3 wasn’t a very good move, Nc3 is the book one. Anyway I was feeling OK after the opening, just needed a plan.
I knew that g4 was kind of sharp, computer prefers doubling the rooks on “d” vertical. The position was about equal, then he played Nc5. I saw right away that after exchange on d8 he leaves his knight under-protected, no matter how he takes on d8. I played it, then after 24. Bxc5 he suddenly took the bishop with the rook. I saw his idea to pin the rook, but I had enough defense resources. Being a rook down he resigned.