April 2018


It was a fourth round in the Thursdays tournament and I expected one of the 1100+ rated players that succeeded so far. I got one of them, 1165 rated boy. He played Ruy Lopez, I managed to exchange his “Spanish bishop”. He soon decided to close the center.

I started an attack on the kingside and played 17… f5. I thought that 18… Qd8 will help to get a better position for my queen, but computer prefers 18… Bxg5 19. Nxg5 h6 20. Nf3 fxe4 21. Qxe4 Nf4. Then I saw that after exchanges on g3 and e4 I will get protected passed pawn “e4”. It influenced me to exchange the queens. But soon I realized that after rooks exchange the arising pawn endgame is a draw, so left one rook.

Then it hit me that he got a fortress. He realized that too and offered a draw. I refused and feverishly started to think what I can do, then thought that if my king gets to a5 I can put my rook on c3 and if he takes it, then Kb4 should be winning. So my king went to a5, but he refused to take my rook. Then I got  a crazy idea about taking on b3 and then advancing my “b” pawn. But I thought that his king can help his rook and accepted the draw. Of course I was disappointed.

Interesting that on my way home I thought about it again and suddenly it looked like I could win because after him giving up his rook we would find ourselves in a pawn endgame with me having a protected passed pawn. So I got upset again. But at home computer estimated 48… Rxb3 move as -10. His king goes straight to my kingside, takes my two pawns, so White gets passed pawn too. Meanwhile his rook fights not even with one, with two passed pawns. In the end he has a Q+R and I have Q, completely won for him.

 

 

 

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I again had the same dilemma as a few days before trying to decide what to do – go to the club or watch playoff hockey and choose chess again. It was a last round and my opponent was an old guy whom I played several times before. I got Black and we played Queen’s Gambit, Slav defense, Exchange variation.

It was a completely equal and frankly, pretty boring position and I decided to “spice it up”.  I soon realized that it was a bad idea and I will be in trouble after 17. d5. Then we both made a few mistakes. Computer thinks he had to play 19. Rc1 with 19… Be7 20. d6 Bxd6 and White is having 1.75 advantage. Then I had to play 19… Bb8 making the position equal. Then again he could get advantage playing 20. d6.

So after 22 moves I suddenly found myself in a completely equal position. We continued to play and after we exchanged dark-colored bishops I got myself a better endgame due to his bad bishop. He realized that and offered a draw. I said I will play and he jokingly said that I have to prove it. After his 35. Bb4 I started to think what I can do and saw f4 pawn sacrifice.

I calculated 35… f4 36. gxf4 Bd8 37. h5 gxh5 line and thought that I am better, but didn’t like his passed “f” pawn and thought that he has a counter-play.  I didn’t feel like I have energy and didn’t want to risk the first place that I would share after a draw. So, I accepted his draw offer.

At home next day I ran a deep analysis of that sacrifice and computer told me that it was winning. His king has to go to the kingside to stop the “h” pawn, black bishop goes to h4, then after h2 Black exchanges “h” pawn to “f” pawn and then wins “e” pawn. Move f5 is met with Kd5. It was pity to see that it was possible to win.

I had a dilemma that day trying to decide what to do – go to the club or watch playoff hockey. I decided on hockey and then changed my mind. My opponent was a boy rated 1312. He surprised me with the opening, playing 3… c5 variation in French, Tarrasch. I got a gut feeling that he will play 7… Qb6 and he did. I decided to exchange the bishop and get ahead with development.

I missed his 11… Bxf3, but saw right away that he shouldn’t take on c2, though probably he will get greedy and take it. I considered 14. Bd2, then played Qc3. Suddenly he played 14… Kd7. I knew that it was a crucial mistake, looked carefully at the position and found Re6. I calculated only until I saw that I can get back the rook with a check. He spent quite some time and played the best move, giving up the queen for the rook and the knight.

Then I played Qxg7 and seriously regretted it right away. After a few moves I “restored the order” and started again to attack his king. Computer thinks that the best was 32. Kh1, not Bf2, anyway he resigned on the next move.

 

It was 4th round in the Mondays club, I got the guy to whom I lost in the summer of 2016, I didn’t play well at that time. I expected him to play Sicilian again, but he played Caro-Cann. It became a positional struggle after the opening. He played very fast, just on the increment.

Computer suggests 20. f5, I saw it, but just didn’t like my queen being on “f” vertical when it will open. After 20. Rf1 computer now wants him to play f5, I also don’ t quite get this move. Eventually I played f5 on move 29 and after 31 move thought that I am better. But he had about 1 hour and 20 minutes and me only 30 minutes.

I considered going into a B vs. N endgame after 36. Rf1 Nd5, but realized that it would be complicated with him having big advantage in time. So, I started to repeat the moves and then claimed 3-fold repetition, then told him about it. He first said, that one more move was needed, then agreed to a draw. At home computer estimated the position after 32. Re1 as equal.

It was a second round in the Thursdays club and my opponent was a boy rated 1481. He had White and played Queen’s Pawn. The game got positional from the beginning, I felt like I am gaining small advantages. Exchange on a3 paid off when he couldn’t put his knight on d3 and played Nc2. His position quickly started to deteriorate. I saw that he will be in trouble after 27… Qf4. After 29… Nf3 he faced mating threats and had to give up the queen. He still continued to play until got mated.

 

Anton Chekhov – Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history, once said: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there”.

I found it very well related to the game I played in the 3rd round of the Mondays tournament. My opponent was a man to whom I lost once in 2015, I do not remember how, but I remember it was painful. So he got White and played Vienna gambit. I remembered the first few moves, then was on my own. After exchange on f3 I intended to exchange the bishops too, but then didn’t like the arising position thinking that he will be well developed and operating on the “f” vertical, so I played Be6. Basically for the same reason I castled queenside, also I saw that I could open the lines faster than him. The pawn sacrifice was first of the guns. Then I saw his combination starting from 22. Nxd5, but thought that after 22… Bxd5 23. Bxd5 Qxd5 24. Rxf6 I have 24… Rxh2. The thing is he can play 23. Bg4 Be6 24. Bxe6 Qxe6 25. d5 with advantage.

I decided at that moment to move “g” pawn to create an outpost, it was the second gun. Then after his 26. Rxf4 I really didn’t like my position and thought that I could lose. 26… Nd8 was played as a defensive move first, then I saw Nd8-f7-g5 maneuver. 31. Bg2 was actually still holding the position, but he probably didn’t like Rxh2. He got behind on time, having about 5 minutes left vs. my 20. I expected him to play 37. Qf5, computer says that it is still lost. After his 37. Kg1 I saw Rxg2 and played it, he resigned. So, both guns eventually fired almost at once.

 

 

 

These games were played in two different clubs, both with lower rated opponents. It was an attempt to refresh my opening repertoire.

Game 1 – it was a second round in Mondays club, my opponent was a young man rated 1527.  It was an equal position after the opening, then his 14… Nh5 was a mistake and I got an advantage after f4. Then again 18… f6 wasn’t the best move, f5 was better.

I continued to attack the f6 pawn and under the pressure he played f5. I spent quite some time on my next 2 moves – 23. Ne7 and 24. Qg5. Computer thinks that Black would be OK after 26… Rxf2+ instead of exd3, which was a crucial mistake.

I saw mate in 5 if after 27. Rxf8+ he takes with a rook and he played exactly that, 27… Nxf8 loses as well after 28. Nf7+ Kg8 29. Nh6+ Kg7 30. Rf7+ Kh8 31. Qf6#.

Game 2 –  it was a first round in Thursdays club, I got a young man rated 1172. I missed playing f5 on move 14. On move 20 I decided to play Nxd5, which I considered earlier, now I could get 3 pawns for a knight. Interesting that computer thinks I shouldn’t have taken the third pawn and wants to leave the bishop on the main diagonal. After he took on a6 with the queen I was able to play d5 and d6. He miscalculated when played 26… Nc4 and the rest of the game was a matter of technique.

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