August 2017


It was a last round of Monday’s tournament. My opponent was an old guy, I had =1, -1 score with him. I got White and he played Sicilian. I played Rossolimo variation, but in this case the game looked more like Open Sicilian.

On move 21 I thought what to choose – Rxf3 or gxf3 and decided that if he exchanges on e5, then with the pawn on f3 e5 will be not isolated. On move 36 I had a choice of playing b5 or transferring into a bishop endgame, which I somehow considered better for him because of his possible activity on the kingside, but it was a draw.

Instead of 39… Bc7 the best was Rh7 with an equal play. After I won a pawn my next move was a huge mistake. 43… Rh2 with following Ra2 and a threat of mate on d2 was winning. This motif repeated later, that explains the title of my post.

45. f4 was again a game losing mistake, Rg2 was drawing, but I didn’t see the threat, he the same. I had 6 minutes left, he about 30. I considered b6, but thought that it is risky and decided to implicitly offer a draw repeating the moves. He did it for while, but then suddenly played Rh2. Now I saw the mate threat, but realized that I can’t do anything about it. I spent some time looking for improbable escape and then saw that I flagged.

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It was a second round and I got paired with a 1951 rated boy, never played him before. I got Black and responded to his 1. c4 with Semi-Slav. As soon as he played 10. a3 I knew that I have play c5, otherwise my bishop will be “bad”, I had it before. Soon I realized that he didn’t have pretenses to get an opening advantage, it calmed me down.

After 20 moves I noticed that there was a possibility of sacrifice on e3, but to my disappointment he played Bf3 and that from my point of view prevented the sacrifice. The thing is the line I would play – let’s say 21. Bd3 Ndxe3 22. fxe3 Nxe3 wasn’t giving me much advantage, the right move was 22… Bg5 with about -2.5. The same sacrifice was still playable after Bf3, but with a lesser effect.

Then he made a mistake by playing 33. Qc8. He could still hold it, probably, but then 37. Qxb5 was a crucial mistake. Instead of 38. Bc5 he had to give up the bishop and play Qf1. But instead of playing 38… Qb1+ 39. Qf1 Bh2+ 40. Kf2 Qc2+ 41. Qe2 Bg3+ 42. Kf3 e4+ with a win, I let him go with 38… Qf5.

I expected him to play 39. Qe2, which by the way was losing the same way as in the line above, but suddenly he played Qf1. The saving move was 39. e4, it was leading to a draw.

After winning the queen the game was over, he resigned one move before getting mated.