March 2016


I think I needed it after four losses in a row. On Thursday because of the freezing rain about 1/3 of the players took byes, so both my opponent and the color I got were unexpected. I got a guy with whom I played recently and who missed the zwischenzug. I got White and we played Sicilian, Moscow variation. This is a second game when I allowed a6, b5, c5 and as a result my knight ended up on d1. After the first game computer recommended a6, but here I didn’t see how it could stop b4. The thing is after 12. a3 b4 13. axb4 cxb4 14. Na2 Black doesn’t have a5 because of Nxb4. If he plays Bb7 and then b4, my knight should go to a4, not d1 disrupting rooks.

Then I made another bad knight move playing Nh2 and forgetting about d5. Computer thinks that 18… d4 19. Bf2 Bh6 was strong for Black with about 1.5 advantage. After his 21… Ne5 I was so happy to exchange my knight on h2 that missed his f5 after exchange, saw it as soon as I put my knight on f3. I even thought to take on f3 with a pawn, but it was just losing a pawn on h3. For some reason he decided to play f4 instead of taking on e4, maybe he thought the same as me that his bishop will be hanging.  But after 24… fxe4 25. dxe4 Bxe4 26. Bg5 he could play Bf3 keeping the pawn.

I was just hanging until move 32, when I started to breath easier. I had a feeling that his 34… e6 wasn’t that good, but hurried to play Bc5 not seeing Rf5. After we exchanged rooks the game started to look drawn. I thought that maybe playing h4 was a mistake, but computer does the same. I thought at some moment that he can win my h4 pawn, but it is possible only with bishops exchange and the pawn endgame is won for me because of the remote passed pawn which I would create on the queenside.

We both had about 3 minutes left, when he played Kf4. I played Bg5+ and he resigned.

 

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My opponent was a guy to whom I lost recently having an “opening catastrophe”. He had White and suddenly started with 1. e3, it was Van’t Kruijs Opening. I never had it OTB, though got it online a few times. The first 6 moves were book moves, though I never knew them.

After his 0-0 I saw an idea of Nxd2, so my two next moves were kind of preparation for that, with c6 being useful and “waiting” move. I had a problem with deciding what to do after 14… Bxe3+ 15. Kh1, choosing the obvious and the worst Bxf4 with only 1.85 advantage. The best was 15… Qd6 16. Bd3 Qxf4 with the queen out of “e” vertical and the same material advantage.

After 18. Rad1 I definitely hurried to play Ne4, Bd7 as the game showed was much better. I expected 19. Nxe4, so Bxe4 was a surprise.  Computer says that 20… Qh6 was the right move. I made a mistake in two moves playing 22… Bf4. I considered Bg4, but didn’t like 23. Rd4. Computer says, I could play Rf2 and if Rxg4, then Raf8, having a clear advantage. I missed his Re7.

Then my advantage started to disappear gradually, as well as my remaining time. He spent much less time and played fast. It was an absolutely right plan to force exchange of the rooks on g7, but I had to be very careful, for example 44… Re8 simply loses after Kf7. The only drawing move was 44… h6 with an idea of 45… a4 after 45. Kf7 and White has to force a draw – 46. Rg8+ Kh7  47. Rg7+ Kh8.

I had seconds and thinking about my 44th move forgot about the clock and suddenly saw it blinking. Needless to say I was very disappointed.

 

 

There is an expression in Russian, which pretty much corresponds to what happened in the game. It was last Thursday, my opponent was a boy, I played with him 2.5 years and won. I had Black, he played Queen’s Pawn defense. It was equal until I played 15… f5. I didn’t see that after exchange he can just advance his pawn on e5 getting advantage. He lost it after playing 20. Rac1, letting me to play f4, computer likes this move.

Suddenly on move 22 he decides to take on d6. After his 23. Bb5 I had an only move – Qe7 and worried if I can lose a material. But then I saw that I can take his queen and then the pawn. Then I started to see “ghosts” when it looked like after all exchanges he can play Rc7 with a fork on both bishops. Then I found that I can take on e7 with another rook and decided to go to the washroom.

So I came back and saw that he played 24. exd6, so I played the prepared Rxe2 and he took my queen. I thought for a moment what is better – taking back on e7 or staying there and attacking his knight and decided to double the rooks.  After he took my rook on e7 something looked strange to me and suddenly I realized to my horror that his bishop on b5 defends the rook on e2. I concentrated too much on the center and forgot about that bishop. I still had 35 minutes on the clock. I resigned and was very upset.

When I came home, I found that after any move except the one I made I had about +1.5 due to the fact that his “d” pawn was weak and his knight had nowhere to move.

These games both were with 1700+ players, ended in perpetual forced by me, but were quite different.

The first was pretty quiet, still not without some internal tension. I knew my opponent for a long time, I played him in 2009-2010, +1, -1. I had White, Caro-Kann.

It was pretty equal unless I took his rook on d4, computer suggests calm Kh2. After 27. Ne5 he could play g5, but he went for a more simple continuation. I saw that if he takes on a2, I will have at least a perpetual after Qh5. I worried that he can play Nd2 instead of that, but after 29. Qxb7 Nf1+ 30. Kg1 all he had was perpetual.

He decided to take on a2 and after giving him a series of checks I had a dilemma – or force a perpetual or look for a win. I spent a lot of time, but didn’t find anything and having about 5 minutes vs. his 28 forced the perpetual.

The second game was with a boy, whom I beat a year ago, he progressed since that time. I had Black, Giuoco Piano. I don’t like now my plan with Be6 and Qf6, I think Nce7 and bishop on f5 or g4 is better.

I couldn’t move my bishop after 19. Neg5 because of Rxe7, so played c6. He lost his advantage after 23. Nd3 and I started to feel that I have some initiative, but there was  nothing decisive. Then, already having little time, I made a mistake playing 36… Qxf2, Nxd4 was the right move with an equality. I thought that I can play 37… Nxg3+ 38. hxg6 Rh6 with a mate, but missed that his rook on e6 will control h6. After 38. Rf1 I thought that I am about to lose a piece and then he played 39. Be4. At that moment I had 11 seconds and only could think about moving my queen. Intuitively I put it on e2 and after he played Rxf5 started giving checks and he offered a draw.

Right after the game finished people standing around started to tell me that I had a win after Nxg3+ and right, it was a mate in 3. It was ironical that I considered that move before, though with a bit different motif.

 

I played this game in the middle of February, it was a first round and I got a top rated guy. I managed to beat him with White before New Year. I had Black this time, Scotch Gambit.  I didn’t want to play 4… Nf6 or Bc5, but my Bb4 doesn’t have very good stats.

Then I didn’t want to follow a known line –  8… Ne5 9. Bxf7+ Nxf7 10. Nxf7 Kxf7 11. Qh5+ g6 12. Qxe5, so I played 8… d5. Computer considers 9. Bxd5 stronger than exd5. 10… Bg4 was played just not to let his queen on h5. Until his move 12 I felt like I am on the edge and the game can be over for me very soon.

I expected 12. Qa4+ and was surprised by his Kh1. After 18… Qh4 I started to feel good. Then  I needed to play 21… Re7 instead of the rooks exchange, he could play 22. Bxe1 instead of Rxe1 with advantage. Another mistake was 24… Ba5, 24… Qf2 was equal.

Then I made a very serious mistake by playing 28… Re8. After 29. Rxe8 bxe8 30. Nf5 Bb6 31. Bg5 Qxc3 32. d6 cxd6 33. Nxd6 Black’s position is indefensible. Luckily he didn’t see it and played 30. Qe1. At that moment he had about two minutes, I had four. After two more moves he offered a draw which I gladly accepted.