My opponent in this forth round at the Thursday’s club was an old foe with whom I had a few draws and losses in the past. I was quite happy seeing him playing Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation. I knew that a book move isΒ 7… Bd7, but decided to play Bd6 to avoid 8. e5. I didn’t realize that e5 is not good for White afterΒ 8… Ne7 9. Be3 Nd5.

After 10. Nc4 I had a long thought. In one of my past games I allowed Nxd6 and then my “d” pawn became a liability. Be7 looked too passive. Bf4 was giving up two bishops, but I eventually decided to play it.

After we exchanged rooks I looked in the future with an optimism. I knew that he has a pawn majority on the kingside, but thought that my bishop is better than his knight in this position and I can hold it. This is exactly what happened, we went for a three-fold repetition in the end.

I ran many shootouts to evaluate that position, about 80% of then ended up with a draw. A few cases when White won happened when after e5 Black played f6 and after exchange got an isolated pawn on f6. Two very deep shootouts ended up with a draw. So, my understanding is that with a precise play Β it is a draw.

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