September 2016

It was a second round and I got a boy with whom I played before, +1, -1 score. He had White and played Vienna game.  As I see the game now, I had to play d5 early to open the center and prevent any kind of pawn storm.

Houdini thinks that exchange of f5 on move 22 or 23 was keeping the balance. I didn’t like exf5, but didn’t see that after Rd4 my rook is very active.  25. g6 was a serious mistake, of course I saw Nh6, but underestimated it. 29. Rc8 was a game losing mistake, I wanted to play Rcc7, but didn’t notice Qf6+.



The most interesting in that game was a line behind the scenes, a really nice combination. It was a first round in a new season. I was afraid to get a 1-point bye and also didn’t feel quite in shape, so registered in the U1800 section. But they misplaced my registration, I wasn’t paired, so eventually I was paired manually with a guy from the top section. I played him before and had a positive score.

So I got White,  he played French defense. Right away I didn’t like his f6 and after his 8… f5 Houdini thinks that he is -3. I considered 9. Ng5, but thought that after h6 will have to go to h3. But instead of Nh3 computer suggests Nf7!. After 10… Kxf7 11. Ne5+ Kf8 12. Qh5 Qe8 13. Ng6+ Kf7 14. Nh8+ Kf8 15. Ng6+ Kf7 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Nxe7+ Kf8 18. Qxe8+ Kxe8 19. Nxf8 White is up a rook.

But I went to Ng3 and just continued to increase the pressure. On move 11 he missed my strike on f5 and lost a pawn. After I won another two pawns it became a matter of technique. In the pawn ending I didn’t realize until the end of the game that I could penetrate with my king through h4 with a fast win, but the way I choose wasn’t too much longer anyway.



These words of Akiba Rubinstein should have been my motto last week, on Monday. I played with the guy that having ~1400 rating managed to get 3.5/4 and beat 3 guys in the 1500+ – 1700+ range. So he looked like a “dark horse” and it got me nervous.

I got White and we played Sicilian, Moscow variation. After he played 15… f5, he started an attack on the kingside. I immediately started a counter-play on the queenside. The first crucial moment came when he played 23… Qh5, it was a mistake. I saw Qc8 of course, but didn’t quite like his bishop jumping to h4 with a tempo and also probably didn’t want to leave my kingside without my queen’s protection. Computer says that after Bh4 I could take on b7 and then advance my “b” pawn to b5, then b6, with rooks protecting at the same time my king.

Then I had an advantage after playing 28. Rc7 and again didn’t use his 28… Rf7 and moved back to c2. After 29. Rxf7+   Kxf7 30. Qc2 my queen was terrorizing his queenside. So I missed it and then mistakenly took on g3. From that point he intercepted the initiative and my position started to deteriorate. It didn’t help that I had less than 10 minutes left. The game losing move was 43. Rc1.

I was very disappointed, even more when I came home and saw that I could win.


I was able to predict who my opponent could be, looked at our last game and decided to play a bit differently. So, here he was, the guy I played with quite a few times and who 3 month ago was able to escape to a draw due to me missing several chances to win. He had White again and we played Ruy Lopez.

I played pretty fast in the opening and it led to one inaccuracy. After 12. Bxd4 I mixed up the order of the moves and instead of exd4 played Bxf3. He could play 15. Ne2 and get about 0.7 advantage, but by playing Nd5 he went along the same line – 12. Bxd4 exd4 13. Nd5 Bxf3 14. Qxf3. I was OK with the position I got.

The shift in the game started with his 27. Rxe4, after that I knew I am better. Then I saw that if we exchange the rooks, the endgame would be better for me due to his bishop being out of play and weakness of the dark squares on his kingside. He went along. Computer thinks he still was OK, but he had to play f4 on the move 35 or 36. But he played 36. Kf1 and it allowed Qd6 preventing f4.

39. c4 was a decisive mistake, though even after better 39. f4 Qxf4+ 40. Qf2 Qc1+ 41. Qe1 Qxb2 I was two pawns up. 44. Bxd5 could only prolong the agony, but after Bb5 I played b3 and he resigned.

It was a mate in 5 – 45. Qxa5  Qc2+ 46. Ke1 b2 47. Qa7+ Kh6 48. Qxh7+ Kxh7 49. a5 b1Q#.