November 2018


It was a first round, my opponent was a master with whom I played many games before. I had Black, our Queen’s Pawn quickly transposed into Semi-Slav.  As soon as he played 12. Nxe5 I remembered that we had a similar position before and if he plays 13. f4 I should play Bd4+ and then Ng4. That was computer’s suggestion after the game, I didn’t see it during it. We even discussed it next time we saw each other in the club. That was a game I played two months before, posted under “Missing chance” title.

It looked like he did not remember it until I played 14… Ng4. He went for a long think and unexpectedly played 15. h3, I thought he would play Qe1. Anyway, I spent probably more than 20 minutes after that, trying to see if the obvious Nf2+ was the best, it seemed me that computer then was suggesting 15… Qh4. I looked at it until I found 16. Bxb5, also the position just looked too complicated after Qh4. So I played 15… Nf2+, which was right, though 16. Bxb5 was losing after 16… Qg3, but after simple 16. Qf3 White was better than in the game.

After winning exchange very soon I realized that my opponent has a compensation for that. Computer thinks that immediate 17… Bb6 was a better move. I saw that nothing good will happen if I would play 21… Qe7, so I played Qh6. If 21… Qe7 then 22. Nf6+ with an advantage. Feeling under attack definitely affected me, so after he played 22. Bb4 I decided to give up a pawn to exchange one of his attacking pieces.

The threat of Be7 after 22… Rfd8 worried me, but there was nothing to worry about because if 23. Be7 then 23… Rxd3! 24. Qxd3 Qxf4 with -2 estimate. After he won a pawn the position became equal. Computer doesn’t like 26. Nxa6, but I had to play f5, the move that I considered a few times, but never played. Then I didn’t see 27… Bc8!, with 28. b3 Rxe4 29. Qxe4 Qxa6 and serious, -2 advantage.

After 42 moves we went into an endgame which was still equal. But it required an exact play. 47… Rd2 was winning both “g” pawns and Black king and rook still were able to stop “a” and “b” pawns. One more factor was a time, he actually was in a very serious time trouble, having less than 20 seconds and playing on 30 seconds increment. I also had a little time and it affected me more than him. Eventually I had to give up my rook and resigned.

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It was a first round, I got a young guy rated 1531. I had White, Ruy Lopez, he played Berlin defense. I decided to play simple and after a6 took on c6. I knew right away that Bg4 was a mistake.

I liked my position the after the opening. Then he played 20… g5, I thought that it is not a good move and replied by h4. Computer approves it, but then recommends 22. Kf2 with the following Rh1, it looks logical to me after h4. I kind of felt being forced to play 24. Bxg5, but later regretted it. The thing is I thought that I can’t defend e4 pawn and didn’t like exf5, letting the bishop on the open. Ironically that was the best move, 24. exf5, because after 24… Qxf5 25. Nc3 e4 I had 26. Rxe6! cxd6 27. f4 Qg6 28. fxg5 hxg5 29. Bxg5 with +1.2. 25… Qxc2 was not better after 26. Rc1 Qg6 27. Ne4 Be7 28. Bxg5 Bxg5 29. Nxg5 hxg5 30. Qxe5.

These lines would allow me to play comfortably for a win instead of what happened in the game. Anyway I found a defensive plan associated with my rook placed on e4. Then I played Qg4 forcing him to choose between an unpleasant endgame and losing a pawn. First option was better, but he chose the second one. But just when I thought that I have a stable advantage he suddenly played 30… g4. I knew that I have to cover d2 square, but missed that after a queen check his rook can go to h1.

My mistake was that I thought only about defense. 32. Qe4 was serving the same defensive purpose, but also was taking g6 square under control. After 32… Qc1+ 33. Kf2 Rh1 the following 34. Qg6+ with the series of checks forced his king to a7 and then Qe3+ would force the queens exchange where I would have +2 advantage.

So 32. Qc3 gave up the win, but I still had a draw. The problem was I had less than a minute left. When he played 34… Qg1+ I had a choice between Kg3 and Ke2. Unfortunately I didn’t like Ke2, not seeing that he doesn’t have anything more than a perpetual and played Kg3. It was a losing move. After 35… Kf5 I realized that e4 is coming, also I suddenly saw that I have only 4 seconds left, so I have to move right away. My move was a blunder, while it was sinking into me, my flag fell.

After the game he said that 36. Re4 probably could save me, but 36… Rh7 was winning anyway.