chess endgames

It was a 3rd round in Thursdays club, I almost didn’t go as I had a cough since Monday. But it got better and I didn’t want to miss the game. My opponent was an old man rated 1479, I drew him recently. He played the same Four Nights Defense, a quiet line, as the last time.

He definitely wanted a draw and went for exchanges. His exchange combination 24. Nh4 was actually a mistake, he was getting a piece back of course, but after 27… Qa5 28. Kg1 f6 29. b4 Qxa2 was losing a pawn. After queens exchange I was feeling that I still have some advantage and tried to use it.

After 56 moves the position was still equal. I thought that he made a blunder on move 58, but his 57. bxc5 was already a crucial mistake, instead 57. b5 was keeping it equal. After I won the pawn it became technical.



This quote belongs to Pal Benko. It was a first round, I got the guy whom I defeated a few times lately. He played Giuoco Piano. I managed to get two bishops and then got a typical f5 attack.

It was developing smoothly until I felt uncomfortable after his 20. Rg3, computer recommends 19… Qe8 instead of a6. Computer doesn’t like his 21. Qh5 and offers 21… Rf4. His 30. g4 was not a bad move after which found myself with nothing on the kingside. So I looked at the other side of the board. Then he made a mistake playing 35. Qc2 and I won a pawn. I felt comfortable after queens exchange, suddenly he blundered another pawn. As soon as he played 43… Rf4 I knew that the pawn endgame should be won for me, computer supports that.

I hesitated to play 49… d5 because of 50. c5, I knew that I will have to give up the “d” pawn, but couldn’t see that it was winning. By the way 49… c5 was winning too, I didn’t even consider that move. So I decided not to hurry and moved my king to the queenside. Of course there was a winning move 59… Kb4, but having less than 7 minutes left I couldn’t calmly calculate, just saw that exchange in the center and sacrificing the “a” pawn should win. That was exactly what happened.

It was a fourth round in the Thursdays tournament and I expected one of the 1100+ rated players that succeeded so far. I got one of them, 1165 rated boy. He played Ruy Lopez, I managed to exchange his “Spanish bishop”. He soon decided to close the center.

I started an attack on the kingside and played 17… f5. I thought that 18… Qd8 will help to get a better position for my queen, but computer prefers 18… Bxg5 19. Nxg5 h6 20. Nf3 fxe4 21. Qxe4 Nf4. Then I saw that after exchanges on g3 and e4 I will get protected passed pawn “e4”. It influenced me to exchange the queens. But soon I realized that after rooks exchange the arising pawn endgame is a draw, so left one rook.

Then it hit me that he got a fortress. He realized that too and offered a draw. I refused and feverishly started to think what I can do, then thought that if my king gets to a5 I can put my rook on c3 and if he takes it, then Kb4 should be winning. So my king went to a5, but he refused to take my rook. Then I got  a crazy idea about taking on b3 and then advancing my “b” pawn. But I thought that his king can help his rook and accepted the draw. Of course I was disappointed.

Interesting that on my way home I thought about it again and suddenly it looked like I could win because after him giving up his rook we would find ourselves in a pawn endgame with me having a protected passed pawn. So I got upset again. But at home computer estimated 48… Rxb3 move as -10. His king goes straight to my kingside, takes my two pawns, so White gets passed pawn too. Meanwhile his rook fights not even with one, with two passed pawns. In the end he has a Q+R and I have Q, completely won for him.




I again had the same dilemma as a few days before trying to decide what to do – go to the club or watch playoff hockey and choose chess again. It was a last round and my opponent was an old guy whom I played several times before. I got Black and we played Queen’s Gambit, Slav defense, Exchange variation.

It was a completely equal and frankly, pretty boring position and I decided to “spice it up”.  I soon realized that it was a bad idea and I will be in trouble after 17. d5. Then we both made a few mistakes. Computer thinks he had to play 19. Rc1 with 19… Be7 20. d6 Bxd6 and White is having 1.75 advantage. Then I had to play 19… Bb8 making the position equal. Then again he could get advantage playing 20. d6.

So after 22 moves I suddenly found myself in a completely equal position. We continued to play and after we exchanged dark-colored bishops I got myself a better endgame due to his bad bishop. He realized that and offered a draw. I said I will play and he jokingly said that I have to prove it. After his 35. Bb4 I started to think what I can do and saw f4 pawn sacrifice.

I calculated 35… f4 36. gxf4 Bd8 37. h5 gxh5 line and thought that I am better, but didn’t like his passed “f” pawn and thought that he has a counter-play.  I didn’t feel like I have energy and didn’t want to risk the first place that I would share after a draw. So, I accepted his draw offer.

At home next day I ran a deep analysis of that sacrifice and computer told me that it was winning. His king has to go to the kingside to stop the “h” pawn, black bishop goes to h4, then after h2 Black exchanges “h” pawn to “f” pawn and then wins “e” pawn. Move f5 is met with Kd5. It was pity to see that it was possible to win.

It was 4th round in Monday’s club. My opponent was a young guy rated 1762, provisional.
I had White, we got Ruy Lopez, old Steinitz variation. Instead of Nc3 computer prefers to develop knight on d2, then to f3.

My move 17. Nd5 started complications. After 18. Be3 c6 I decided that I am losing a piece, because after 19. Bxd4 cxd4 my knight has nowhere to go. But I could play 20. f5 as well as 19. c3 in the first place. He decided to play 19. cxd5 and I realized soon that even I am down a pawn I definitely have a compensation. His 23… Ne5 was a big mistake, instead exf5 was about -1.

I thought a lot about move 25, deciding what to play – fxe6 or f6 and not seeing how I can get anything real out of f6 played fxe6. But there was 25. Rd7 Rf8 26. f6 winning on the spot. I also missed Rd7 on the next move and lost all my advantage. Then we went into a rook endgame where I saw that I can get a pressure on his c5 pawn. His 41… Kc6 was a mistake and then he allowed rooks exchange. The pawn endgame was technical and in a hopeless position he resigned.

It was a third round in the Monday’s club championship, I played there first time in 2 months. My opponent was an old guy, FIDE master, it was his first tournament since 2012. I knew I could play him with Black, saw that he plays Vienna game and prepared a bit. So his first moves were not a surprise for me.

His 6. g3 is not considered a good move and 7. Qe2 was a mistake. I could play 7… Ng5 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. Qf2 Nb4 10. Nxg5 Nxc2+ 11. Kf1 Bxg5 with advantage. After he castled queenside I tried to create an attack. I think his light pieces exchange defused the situation. Then I made a blunder putting my rook on f8.

Computer considers 23. Qxc6 not the best move, preferring Qe3. It also says that 29… h5 is better than Nc5. I realized after the game that 34… exd5 was better than cxd5 in the game. He played well this part of the game and his position was becoming stronger and stronger. I saw Bxe6 sacrifice, but was not sure it was winning. He decided to play it and soon I had to resign.

My opponent was a young man and I got White. He played French and our Tarrasch transformed into Rubinstein variation. I got advantage after his 9… Nb6 and started to develop an attack on the queenside. Computer prefers Rc3 on move 17 or 18.

Then I missed 21. Rxc7. I saw it, but didn’t realize that after 21… Kxc7 22. Qa7 Black king has nowhere to go. His exchange sacrifice was a mistake, it allowed the same rook sacrifice on c7. I again missed it and decided that queens exchange will be OK for me.

He started an active counter-play, but his 36… Bb6 was a mistake. His next move was a game-losing mistake and he resigned.

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