March 2019

It was a 5th round in the Thursdays club. My opponent was a 1478 rated guy with whom I had a 4:0 score, 3 wins with Black in Italian Game. It was again Italian Game. I did not play well in the opening and already after move 9 was in a serious trouble. He developed a strong attack and I tried to hold on.

Computer thinks he would be better after 26. Qc4, then d5. I thought I can’t play 26… Nxe5, but I could  and it was equal – 26… Nxe5 27. Nxe5 fxe5 28. Qxb6 Rd1+!. My 26… Rhe8 was also good. I missed 28… Ne5 possibility. All the time I had to watch for a possible sacrifice on a6. Then on move 32 I could lose if he would play Rd2, the idea is that rook goes to d6. He didn’t see it. After the knights exchange I started to feel good.

After his 36. Qc3 I didn’t like Rxb6 threat and played 36… Rd7. Computer suggests 36… Qd6 was better. Then after 37… Rd4 I felt that I intercepted the initiative, though it was still equal. Computer says that 39… c4 was very strong, with -3 evaluation. I decided that 41… Rd2 will be stronger than Rxa4, computer agrees.

Then a crucial moment of the game came when he played 43. g4. I saw Rxg4 right away, but then noticed that after 43… Rxg4 44. fxg4 Qxg4+ he has 45. Qg3 defense. So I decided it won’t work and played Qd4+. It was a big mistake. After 43… Rxg4 44. fxg4 Qd4+! there is a forced mate. There is a mate also he declines the sacrifice and plays 44… Kh1, Black follows with 44… Qf5 45. Qf1 Rxh2+ 46. Kxh2 Qf4+ 47. Kh1 Qh3+ 48. Qh3 Qxh3#.

Then after 45. Qg3 it became equal, but in 2 moves he blundered his rook on a1.  It would be over after 48… Rd1, computer says mate in 17, but  I played Qb2. In the next few moves he managed to advance his “e” pawn and force me to give up a rook for it.  I had less than 5 minutes and stopped writing the moves. Then I couldn’t avoid the queens exchange and we ended up in a rook endgame where I was better.

There was a moment when I could exchange the rooks with each of us having a pawn on the kingside  and me having an “a” pawn on the queenside. But I thought that his king would lock my king up there, so I avoided this exchange. After the game our TD told me that there was a win for me, that my king could escape, I am not sure. Anyway he managed to exchange the pawns on the kingside and win that “a” pawn, so we ended up with  a draw.

It was a 4th round in the Thursdays club and my opponent was a boy rated 1528. I played him about 3 months, had White, it was Ruy Lopez with Bc5. I missed a win a couple of times. This time it was the same opening, same variation.

Until move 17 the game was very similar to the previous one, exchange of the dark colored bishops and pawn exchange on d4. I thought that exchange on f5 will give my queen a good position there, but he unexpectedly played Ng6. So I won a pawn and then continued my attack on the kingside. On move 35 he made another mistake and I won an exchange. After the game I thought that I got carried away with my attack after that, but computer confirmed that I made the right moves until move 44.

I had about 5 minutes left, quickly considered 44. Bc2, but thought that after Qb2 I would lose a2 pawn. Nevertheless cool 45. Qf6 was keeping White’s advantage. So I played impulsive Rc1 and right away saw Rxc2 and Qb1+. He saw it too, played it and I realized that I lost all my advantage. I even had to play the exact moves to defend. In the end he could get better by 43… Nfe2+ and 44… Nc3. But he played 43… Nfd3 and offered a draw. I had about 3 minutes left vs. his 15, was no better on the board and accepted his offer.