July 2018

It was a 3rd round in the Mondays club. I unexpectedly got a 1281 rated young man. Before we started the game he told me that his last performance rating was 400 higher and his rating before that was about 1100. It made me play more carefully. My shape as I discovered later was not good, I was tired after Sunday’s trip.

I got White, Closed Sicilian. After the opening I started to attack on the kingside, but then didn’t see how I can advance and went for some preventive measures on the queenside.  Computer doesn’t like my 17. Bxc3 preferring Nxc3 with equality. Then I missed d5 and got into somewhat inferior position with -0.75 estimate. I didn’t want to get into a passive defense after 27. Qxc1 Rc8, then Qc7, so decided to sacrifice a pawn and try to counter-attack.

30… Nc5 was a crucial mistake. I saw 31. Nh5 of course, but then thought that after 31… Bxh5 32. Rg1+ Bg6 33. fxg6 Qe7 he is OK. But he is actually not because of 34. g7 Rb8 35. Bg4 and he has to give up his queen. So I played 31. Be2 which was missing the win because of Qe7. But he didn’t see it and made the same mistake again playing Na4. Here I decided to burn the bridges and played Rg1. I was not thinking clearly and thought that his king can escape to h8, still… Suddenly he shook my hand, resigned and said that he had to play Qe7, not Qd6. I accepted of course, but couldn’t undestand why he resigned, thinking he saw ghosts.

On my way home I analyzed the position again and started to think that maybe there was something. At home I saw of course, that escape to h8 doesn’t help – 32… Kh8 33. Nh5 Rg8 33. Rxg8+ and mate next move. The best for him was Ba2, then king could escape to f7. Still after 32… Ba2 33. Nh5+ Kf7 34. Rg7+ Ke8 35. Ra7 Nb6 36. Nf7+ Kd8 37. Rxa5 White is +4 and winning.


It was a last round in Thursdays club. I had 4/4, was a leader and realized that for the first time I can get a perfect record (all wins, no draws or byes), but calmed down myself thinking that a draw would be OK too. I had a swollen gum just a day before and thought I won’t play. But antibiotic made it’s magic just in 24 hours and I felt good enough to go. My opponent was a girl to whom I painfully lost in the big tournament in February. This time I had White and we played Ruy Lopez.

On move 15 I considered Bf4, then decided to force her to do something with her knight and forgot about Nc4. So my bishop went back and after 17. b3 suddenly she played Nxa3. I realized that main threat was to win my e4 pawn, so 19. d5 was preventing it, though computer prefers e5. After 22. Bxb4 I started to think that it is actually me who has an advantage, it explains the title. My bishops became very active and she blundered a skewer.

30. Bxf6 really made the game easier for me. After 42 moves I had about 5 minutes left, thought that the position remains too complicated and decided to exchange queens. 46… Be5 was a game losing mistake, instead 46… Bb2 was ~-2.5. 47. d7 was using the fact that the rook was overloaded. In a few moves she resigned. Needless to say that I was very happy to get 5/5 as well as revenge.