May 2018

It means “Success favors those who take pains”. It was 4th round in Monday’s club. I didn’t feel like I am in my best shape returning late from relatives  because of the blown tire, still decided to play. My opponent was a young guy rated 1688. I got White and played Closed Sicilian. On move 12 I didn’t like 12. fxe5 Bxe5 not seeing yet g4, so I took some risk and played f5, though computer gives a line 12. f5 gxf5 13. exf5 Nxf5 14. Rxf5 Bxf5 15. g4 which considers equal.

On move 14 I didn’t see that he can win a pawn, computer thinks it was a mistake to take it. It doesn’t like 18. Ne2 and prefers Nd5. So I am worse after 20 moves, but 22… Qb6 gave me the initiative and 23… Qa6 was a crucial mistake. After 24. Qh6 I considered a possibility of Nf5, but thought that he can just play Re8, so I found Nh5. Actually 25. Nf5 wins too after 25… Re8 26. Qh4.

So he thought for at least half an hour and found 26… f6.  I didn’t know what to choose – 27. Rg3+ or 27.Qg6+, chose the first one. Qg6+ was mate in 7. Then 29. h6 was a mistake, Rxf6 was mate in 5. He made two mistakes 31… Rxg3 and 32… Rag8, mine was drawing one 32. Rxe6.

It was a 3rd round in the Mondays tournament and my opponent was a young man, I played him before and won twice. He got Black and like in the last game played Exchange variation of the Queen’s Gambit, Slav Defense. I tried to play it differently than last time, so Nh5 was the solution. I didn’t like his 17. f4 and 18. Kf2, computer says it’s OK.

His 27. Ke3 was a mistake, I could get 2.5 advantage by playing 27… a5.  29… Qxe2 was also better with +2. Then he played provocative 37. g4, I could answer by 37… g5! 38. fxg5 h4! with about +3 advantage. I missed g5 again on move 39.

My hesitant 49… Qf5 started a bad sequence of the moves. After his 50. b5 I panicked and played Qc8, really bad move. Instead 50… Qh5+ was saving the situation, after 51. Ke3 Qh2 52. Qa8+ Kh7 53. Qxd5 Qxg3+ the game was equal. Soon I realized that I am going to lose. I saw that he had a nice mate in 2: 56. Qh8+ Bxf8 57. Qxh8#, but he didn’t see it. Still, after a few moves I had to resign.



It was 6th round in the Thursdays tournament, my opponent was a boy rated about 1300. He had White and played Italian game, the line that I know pretty well. We followed the book until move 14.

I played 16… g6 because of possible Re5, to keep my knight on f5. 19… Nxc3 was forced by Nxd5 with following Re5. I expected 24. d5, intended to play Qf6 and was surprised by his Rd3. I was also surprised by his 30. gxh5. By his move 32 I got annoyed by his two draw offers and lack of progress, though I thought that I am better.

It forced me to play 32… c5, computer estimates it as equal and prefers 32… f5 33. Rf4 g5 with a -0.5 estimate in a few moves afterwards. I thought that I will get an attack and by the way he had 11-12 minutes left and I had about 7. His 36. Qe3 was a horrible mistake. I made a mistake too, deciding for some reason that there is a mate after 36… Qh1+, suddenly he played Kg3. 36… Rh1+ was winning on the spot.

I quickly realized that my attack will disappear after 38. Kh4. But he played Kf4 and after g5 I saw Qe4+ coming. He saw it too, gave up the rook and after 40… Re1 had to resign.

It was a second round in Mondays club, my opponent was a young man rated 1543.  I had White and played again Closed Sicilian. Some complications arose after 12.  Nd5, computer doesn’t like his 14… Be5, preferring Qb8. Move 20. g4 was apparently not the best, better was h4 with following Bh3 and exchanging the bishops.  It allowed White to attack h6 and f7 squares.

Around move 25 I had a feeling that I have a good pressure and spent quite some time looking for the best continuation. His 27… Qc5 was a crucial mistake, he tried to avoid pin, but his queen stopped defending the king. The intention of 29. Qf3 was to sacrifice an exchange on e6.

Suddenly he sacrificed exchange himself. I considered quickly taking the rook, didn’t like it and decided to continue with my plan. So I took on e6. When he played fxe6, it became clear that he is in trouble. He resigned after my 32. Qxe6. Computer found here mate in 10: 32…. Kg7 33. Qg6 Kh8 34. Qxh6 Kg8 35. Qe6+ Kh8 36. Qe8+ Kh7 37. exd5 Qd6 38. Be4+ Kg7 39. Kg3 Nd4 40. h6+ Kxh6 41. Qh5+ Kg7 42. Qh7#. Interesting that all the pieces and two pawns that were attacking the king take part in this mate.

By the way taking his rook was winning too. After 30. exd5 Qxd5 31. Rg6+ mates in 5 and after 30… Bxd5 31. Qf5 White wins.

After the game I had a feeling that my play was mediocre. I came home and computer told me that I had my chance and some of my ideas were right, but I didn’t find the right moves. So, it was 5th round in Thursdays club and my opponent was a boy rated 100 lower.

I had White, played Ruy Lopez and he chose Classical defense deferred. After the opening the game became a positional struggle. I thought that his queen was at some risk, thought how to use it, but couldn’t find the decisive move. Computer doesn’t like my Nh2-f1-e3 maneuver, saying that I could play 24. Nf5 ( Black can’t play 24… Bh5 because of 25. g4, then h4). His flashy 28… Nd5 was a big mistake because of 29. h4! Qg4 30. Qd2 and Black loses a piece. Unfortunately I didn’t see that. I played 29. Qd1 and my next queen move 30. Qc1 was bad too, h4 still worked – 30. h4 Qxg3 31. Nxg3 Nxd1 32. Rxd1 with equal position. If 29… Qg4 30. Qd2 Bxf5 31. Nxf5 White is better.

After queens exchange and him taking on a2 I didn’t see that after 32. Ra1 Nb4 the knight would attack my bishop so I still lose a pawn. I got worse, then his another flashy move – 41. c4 was again not good giving up all the advantage. But then strange thing happened, probably time trouble affected me, I had less than 10 minutes left. I considered 44. Rg4!, but didn’t play it, even though I saw Rde6 coming. Then on the next move Rg4 was already a decisive mistake. After 48…  Reb2 the mate became inevitable.

This quote belongs to Pal Benko. It was a first round, I got the guy whom I defeated a few times lately. He played Giuoco Piano. I managed to get two bishops and then got a typical f5 attack.

It was developing smoothly until I felt uncomfortable after his 20. Rg3, computer recommends 19… Qe8 instead of a6. Computer doesn’t like his 21. Qh5 and offers 21… Rf4. His 30. g4 was not a bad move after which found myself with nothing on the kingside. So I looked at the other side of the board. Then he made a mistake playing 35. Qc2 and I won a pawn. I felt comfortable after queens exchange, suddenly he blundered another pawn. As soon as he played 43… Rf4 I knew that the pawn endgame should be won for me, computer supports that.

I hesitated to play 49… d5 because of 50. c5, I knew that I will have to give up the “d” pawn, but couldn’t see that it was winning. By the way 49… c5 was winning too, I didn’t even consider that move. So I decided not to hurry and moved my king to the queenside. Of course there was a winning move 59… Kb4, but having less than 7 minutes left I couldn’t calmly calculate, just saw that exchange in the center and sacrificing the “a” pawn should win. That was exactly what happened.