October 2019


It was a 2nd round in Mondays tournament. My opponent was a boy, I thought that I lost to him some time ago, in a rather quick and painful way. It defined my careful manner of play. I had White, he played Caro-Kann.

Computer prefers 11. h6 to my Bd2. I expected his 14… e5 and was confident about 15. dxe5, computer criticizes his move and recommends Nf6. I got a feeling that I am better after his 20… Rf7 and 21… Rhf8. Computer thinks that I had to play 23. Qf5 instead of Qf3.

The crucial moment came on move 28, I considered 28. Qc7, but for some reason decided to play Qd6. Computer says I would get advantage after 28. Qc7 a6 29. Qxg7. So we transferred into a rook endgame. His 30… Rg8 was too passive, he had to play Re8 and then Re5. 36. f4 was the move instead of g4.

After 40 moves I thought that his initiative on the queenside could be dangerous and decided to do something about it. On move 50 computer recommends Ke3 forcing rooks exchange with ~+1 advantage, but 2 shootouts ended up in a draw. After his 53… c4 I spent some time calculating 54. bxc4+ Rxc4 55. Rxc4 Kxc4 line and saw that we queen at the same time. So I went for it, in a few moves he offered a draw. Interesting that when I came home I found out that I actually had a win against him in that past game, but blundered…

It was a last round, I was leading by 0.5 point and convinced myself to go despite having a quite stressful day just because didn’t want to give up the first place. As in a few recent games I played again Moscow variation and my opponent again played Nd7 line. Computer says I had to exchange the rooks on move 11 and then play Na3. His 11. Ne5 was a mistake.

I gradually increased my advantage and won a pawn. Computer criticizes my c4, preferring Qc4 and says that after move 25 my advantage was only ~0.3. It is difficult for me to believe it having two passed pawns on the queenside. Anyway on move 26 I blundered, my mental state suddenly showed. Being in a state of shock I lost another pawn, Qc5 right away or after Qa7 was saving it.

I got mad at myself and tried to get some chances, though the position was equal. He offered a draw, I refused, he looked surprised. Soon he made a mistake and I got the pawn back. His next move 39… f6 was a big mistake. On move 41 I missed Qc7 just because I didn’t like Rb7, but I didn’t see a mate in 2 – Rh7+ and Qg3#. Still after 44… Qh8 I got a decisive advantage.

I found 47. Be6, then my bishop went to f5. He had 1 minute remaining, I had 4 when I saw that I have a forced mate.

Pianoforte is Italian for “soft-loud”. It was a penultimate round in Wednesdays club, I got 1412 rated boy, he had White. He played Giuoco Piano, started very confidently. I had to take on d4 on move 11. Computer says that 14… Bb7 was allowing him to play e5 with ~0.9 advantage.

I didn’t like his 17. Nb1 and got a feeling that I can intercept the initiative. Then 21. Nb1 was a serious mistake. After my 21… c5 his 22. c4 was a bad answer. I saw a check on d4 and played it. Computer prefers 26… Bxg2+. My attack was getting stronger, I won a piece. Eventually I transferred into a won endgame where I just had to play carefully.

It was a last round in the Mondays club, I played my opponent twice, won both times. I got White, Sicilian again, Moscow variation. My 6. e5 wasn’t a good idea, c3 was better. After 20 moves the play became more complicated. I found 24. Nxc5 and the position was equal, but then my  28. Qf3 was a mistake. I decided that 29. h4 could give me some chances and it did.

After 34… Kf7 I got an advantage, computer offers a crazy line 34… f4 35. Qxf4 e5 with an equal play. It was a crucial moment on move 37. I saw that Rc7+ will give me a pawn on g6 and a dangerous attack, but computer evaluates it as ~-2.3. Instead White had 37. Qc7+! Re7 38. Qd8 with a winning attack on the 8th horizontal. After 40 moves I realized that I should fight for a draw.

By playing 42… Ra2 he lost his winning chances. I checked 49. Bc1+ Kb1 50. Qe1 and saw that he has Qxf2. So in a few moves I got a perpetual.