September 2018


It was a first round of the new tournament in Monday’s club and I got again the master I played a week before. I had White, he played his usual French, this time it was Tarrasch, open variation. Later I found that we played it 3 years ago and had a draw.

We followed the book, his 13… b5 was a novelty. Then on a move 15 he made a serious mistake, he even later called it a blunder. It was a combination – 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Rxe6, winning 2 pawns. I swear to god that not once during the game I considered sacrifice on e6, before and after a castle, game will prove that. But it was always taking with one light piece on e6, then with another, never with a rook.

As I remember at that moment I didn’t see how I can improve the position of my pieces, so played h3. He then started to press on the queenside, but by his own expression “overstretched”. After playing 22. Nd4 I suddenly saw that the sacrifice on e6 is finally possible and played it. He couldn’t take my knight because of the weak 8th horizontal as well as the threat of Bd6+.

So I got an extra pawn. Computer thinks that I had to keep my rook. The exchange on e7 was a mistake, after 35. b4 I would have 0.8 advantage. So he got his pawn back, I thought that in the pawn endgame I would have some advantage, so exchanged the light pieces. Soon I realized that I am not winning this game. I was already in the time trouble as well as him.

There was a clear draw after 49. Ke3 Ke5 50. f4 Kd5. I played 49. Kg3, it was OK too, because after 49… Ke4 50. f3+ Ke3 I had 51. Kg2. But I think I didn’t see Kg2 and suddenly played impulsive g5. He didn’t take it as I expected, but just calmly played 50… f5. Then I realized that I am lost. I was upset of course and he was even apologetic saying that it was a draw.

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It was a first round in the first tournament of the season , because of the problem during registering I was manually paired with my friend rated 1518.  We had 6 draws in the past, his rating dropped lately. He played English Opening, I replied with c6.  His 15. f3 was slow, I expected e4. His 18. Bh3 looked strange, 18… Ne8 (with the idea of Ne8-Nd6-Nc4) was better than my 18… Rc7.

After his 20. g4 I evaluated the position and decided that knight on f6 and bishop moved to f8 could hold it. So I continued my initiative on the queenside. Instead of his 24. Rc2 computer offers 24. fxe6 Nxb2 25. exf7+ Kf8 26. Qg6 b4 27. Rf2 bxc3 28. Rg2 Ng4 29. Qh7 Bf6 30. Bxg4, with some attack (for the knight for two pawns) with -1.5 estimate.

Then I found 24… e5, I thought it was stopping completely his attack. He had to play 25. dxe5 Nxe5 26. Qd4, still after queens exchange Black was better. After 25. Bc1 his position continued to deteriorate and he resigned after 35. Rxh3.

It was a last round, my opponent didn’t come and I was paired with a master whose opponent didn’t come either. I played quite a few times with him and got a few losses and a few draws, mostly with White. This time I got Black and played Semi-Slav.  First 10 moves followed the book, then he played 11. h3. His 14. f4 was a mistake, as after 14… Bd4+ 15. Kh1 it allowed 15… Ng4 16. Qe2 Qh4 17. Qf3 Nf2+ 18. Kh2 Bg4 19. Qg3 Qxg3 20. Kxg3 Nxd3 21. hxg4 with ~-0.8 estimate. But I didn’t see it and played Bb7 which proved in the future not to be a good move. Generally speaking in Semi-Slav Black pays e5 or c5 to free the light-colored bishop, so the bishop should stay on the according diagonal.

After 20 moves I felt that attack on the kingside is imminent and to prevent it played f5. Computer doesn’t like it and evaluates the position after that as +1.36. He switched to the queenside, I decided soon that I have nothing to lose if I sacrifice a pawn on c6 and free my bishop, taking also into account that we didn’t have much time left.

I played 33… Kh6 because I thought that with king on h8 I won’t be able to take with my knight on d6, letting him to double the rooks on 7th horizontal. He made a g4 breakthrough and after he found Qg3 it became a forced win, because the arisen endgame was hopeless for me.