November 2019

The first post on this subject was 5 months ago, I said then that I started to understand the ideas. So, here we come, fourth round, I am having Black against the boy who just became the club champion (in top section). I played a rapid game against him a month ago and lost after making a bad move, almost blunder, it was Scotch gambit, Dubois-Reti defense. So no surprise he played it again.

After he played 11. Nc3 I just took the knight, I think I had a delusion that if I take on e5 he can play Nxc6 and Bxc5. After the first 12 moves he started to spend a lot of time on every move and it looked like he wasn’t very confident. Computer prefers 15… Rad8 to my c6. I predicted his 16. Ng5 and played g6 right away. I expected f5 too, of course I realized that he intends to sacrifice the exchange. I calculated the line 17… Bxf5 18. Rxf5 gxf5 19. Qxf5 and saw that I have 19… f6. Still the arising position looked a bit murky to me, so I decided to take on f5 under the better circumstances. Computer still evaluates my line as ~-3.

I remembered that in one of the analyses Black played c4 and saw that here it can push the queen to the worse position and also force exchange of the bishops. As soon as I played it, I realized that I can win the knight on g5 no matter where the queen goes. He played Qe2 after some thinking and I took on g5 almost right away. It looked like he didn’t expect it. He spent a bit of time and resigned, looking visibly upset. Nevertheless to say that I was very happy.

My opponent was an old guy, I played him in 2013 and 2016 and won. He chose French, Rubinstein variation. After the opening the game started to look drawish and it worried me. I was looking for the way to get advantage, but didn’t see a clear one. Then he played 21… Qe7, computer doesn’t quite like it, evaluating the position after 22. Na5 as ~0.7.

When I played 22. Nd4 I remember that at that moment I thought that it would be nice to play 22. Bf4 and then 33. Bd6 with a skewer, but after 22… Rd8 he would  have d6 square under control. Then after exchange he suddenly played Kh7. I saw a queen check giving me that control and played it. Before I played 25. Bf4 I noticed that he has 25… e5 and prepared Rxe5. Computer thinks it’s even worse for Black than losing an exchange. He preferred to resign right away.

It was a 3rd round in the new club, my opponent was a boy rated 1825. I got White, he played French Defense, it became Tarrasch, closed variation. On move 9 I chose the same line that I played 9 days before, I thought I can play it better. Computer doesn’t like his 9… f6 as well as 11… Be7 and evaluates the position as ~+2. After 14 moves it is already about +3.8.

I thought about 15. Qc2, but preferred Qd2, the line was 15. Qc2 h6 16. Qf2 Rf7, 17. Qg3 Nf8 18. Bxh6. After 16. Bd7 I spent quite some time choosing between Ng5 and Bg5. The knight  on g5 after bishops exchange didn’t look very promising, so I chose Ng5. It was a right choice, because after 17. Bg5 he had a strike 17… Rxf3 18. Rxf3 Bxg5 19. Qc2, though computer thinks I still had ~0.7 advantage.

After 19. Be7 Rxf1+ 20. Rxf1 the game was already lost for him, though we didn’t realize that yet. 21. Qg5 was mate in 11. After winning his queen I knew that I have to use the unfortunate placement of his pieces, the rest was technique. He played very fast all the game, I followed first, but after the opening slowed down.

It was a first round and I got the same guy I played with a week before and lost. He played English Opening, my 1… Nf6 made it Anglo-Indian Defense. After his 5. Nc3 I took on c3, it is a 3rd choice move, the 1st one is Nb6. Computer thinks that he could get advantage after 13. e4.  On move 16 I started to feel comfortable, my goal was to prevent e4.

21. e3 was a mistake, computer evaluates it as -0.91 preferring Bf4. 24. Qc2 was of course a serious mistake, I found Nb3. It seemed me he had Qd3, but then I saw Bc4. On move 27 he allowed another combination, the exchange one, which I thought would be in my favor, computer confirms that.

On move 31 he made a final mistake and on the next move resigned. Needless to say that I was happy to get a revenge.

It was a second round in a new club, my opponent was an old guy rated 1891. He got White and played Four Knights. I found only 8 games I played OTB with +2, =4, -2 score. So, I am not very familiar with it and played 4… d6 line. Then I found 8… c5 book move, as well as 9… Bxf5. It was a pity to exchange the bishop, but his knight just looked too dangerous. The same was with 11… Qg4, by the way it was a computer move with ~0.5 evaluation.

Then I got my pawns moving on the kingside, after 20 moves it was an equal position. I was planning f5 for some time, still missed playing it on move 24. I didn’t want to leave f5 pawn under attack, but didn’t see that my bishop would attack b2 pawn after 24… f5 25. e5 dxe5 26. fxe5 Rxe5 27. Rxe5 Bxe5. Then our struggle continued in the center. He had less time all the game and when he had 4.5 minutes and I had 9 we repeated the moves.

The shootouts I ran from the final point ended up in a draw. I was very satisfied with the result.

It was a last round of the Monday’s tournament. My opponent was a guy rated 100 lower, I won two times against him in the past. We played French, Tarrasch, closed variation. I wanted to avoid Bd3, c3 line and played 5. f4. He traded the light pieces, I didn’t want to avoid the queens trade by the price of castling.

I thought that I have an advantage after the opening and planned f5 for quite some time. Computer offers 30. h4 Rc8 31. h5 Na7 32. Bc5 Nc6 33. Rh1 with +1.40 estimate. My 31. f5 gave back most of the advantage. Another mistake was exchanging of the light-colored bishops. Soon I got a feeling that my advantage is gone and I need to switch to defense. That plus being low on time forced my bad decision to exchange the rooks, computer evaluates it as -3.

Three times, on moves 41-43 he missed the possibility to play h5 with a win. I had to play g4, but didn’t realize that my “g” pawn will become an object of an attack. On move 44 he finally played h5 and the game was decided. It was an upsetting end of a not a good tournament.

That’s what was in my mind when the first round of a new tournament was starting. Finally after 10 month break I am playing with the high rated opponents, in the top section. I got a boy rated 1813 and had White. After first 10 moves in Ruy Lopez I got a feeling that he is not very familiar with the theory. Computer prefers d5 to my 14. a4. His 14… Qb6 was a mistake, I played Be3 almost right away. I started to consider Nd5 around that time, but never played it, computer wants me to play it on move 16.

One of the critical moments of the game came after he played 20… b4. I couldn’t resist from playing 21. Bxf6 intending to take on h7 then. I soon realized that my attack is not as dangerous as I thought, computer considers the position equal. Then after his 26… d5 I had 27. Nc5 Bc6 28. Bd7 Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Bxd7 30. Nxd7+ Ke8 with advantage, but I didn’t see it.

Then on move 28 he made a crucial mistake by playing Nf6. 33. Rc1+ was winning on the spot, I didn’t notice that he doesn’t have Bc6 defense because the rook on a8 would lose the defender. He was very low on time, 10-15 seconds left, I had about a minute. When I took on f6 I saw that he probably has a perpetual, but I didn’t have time to find something else. Fortunately I found that I have Kf2 and Re2 defense.

When I hid my king on g3 I started to breath easier. Then he took his rook and trying to find a place for it, put it on c8. He exclaimed something, it is funny that people do that when they blunder, attracting attention.


My opponent was a young man, I won a few times with White against him, this time I had Black. The game started as a Reti Opening, but then transformed into King’s Indian Attack. My bishop would be better located on e7. His 10. h4 was weird and 12. Ng5 was a mistake.

Computer recommends 13… Bc5 with the following 14. Nb3 Bxf2+ 15. Rxf2 Nxf2 16. Qxd8 Raxd8 17. Kxf2 h6 18. Nf3 Ng4+ 19. Ke1 Rd3 with a strong attack. I considered sacrifice on f2 then and later, but couldn’t see that far. 16. Qb3 wasn’t a good idea. After 18… Ne6 I felt that I have a serious advantage. Then I saw a sacrifice on e4 and played it. He looked surprised and after some thinking suddenly played Bxd4. After I took on d4 he resigned.