In the last round I expected to have Black against the expert, instead I got White against one of the leaders. The guy who I thought was rated ~1870 managed to beat two experts, only at home I found out that he is rated 200 lower. He chose French and soon I noticed that he is spending time on the opening moves while I moved right away, having played this variation quite a few times. After his 10… Nb4 I got a good feeling about the game, which became stronger after his 11… Na6. I spent some time thinking about 13. Nf4, but then decided that he can just castle and played usual exf6.

After he played 18.. Ne8 I knew that I have to act on that,  computer recommends Nf4 here. When I saw 21. Qh5 I realized that this is a critical moment of the game. I considered two replies – g6 and h6.

On g6 I planned 22. Nxg6 Nxe3 23. Nxe7 and there is a mate coming, but I didn’t consider 22. Rf7. White is still winning after 23. Ne5 Rg7 24. Bxc4 dxc4 25. f5 . I also saw 22. Bxg6 and wanted to make a final decision after his move. 22. Bxg6 wins on the spot after 22… Rf7 23. Bxf7, as well as after 22… hxg6 23. Qxg6+ Kh8 24. Nh5 . My reply to h6 was of course Qg6 and that’s what happened.

After 23… Rf5 I felt that I can’t afford another big thinking due to my time left and exchanged queens. Computer criticizes me for that, saying that 24. Nh5 was crushing, with 24… Kf8 25. Bxf5 Bh4 26. Bxe6+ Ke7 27. Rf7+ Kd8 28. Rf8+ Kc7 29. Rc1+ Qc6 Bxd7. In the line 24… Bf8  he loses after 25. Nf6+.

I played 26. Rc1 to not give him any chances and captured f5 pawn later anyway. It became technical, there was a funny moment when after I played 41. a4 I realized that I blundered a pawn, but immediately saw that I get Rc8+ , computer doesn’t like 41… Rxa4. After 45. Rcc7 he resigned.

 

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