chess endgames


It was a first round in the Mondays club. My opponent’s rating was 100 lower, I got White, he played Caro-Kann. Usually White plays 6. h4 and then by h5 and Bd3 forces bishops exchange. I decided to avoid that because I had a problem with h5 pawn in one of the games, it was weak.

I felt uncomfortable after his 12… e5, though computer feels fine and recommends to play 13. Bxg6 hxg6 14. b5 c5 16. dxe5 Nxe5 with equality. On move 15 I had to consider Bf5, I really did, but didn’t like 15. Bf5+ Bxf5 16. Nxf5 Nxf3+ 17. Qxf3 Bxh2+ 19. Kh1, though Black is -2.16 after 19… Rxe1+ 20. Rxe1 Bd6 21. Nxg7. So after 15 moves I regretted about not playing h4-h5 and exchanging my light-colored bishop, as I felt that my pieces were tangled.

I am not sure now what his 21… Qe5 move was, maybe just a blunder. I thought that it is dangerous to take f7 pawn, but after 22. Qxf7 Bxg5 23. Rb1 Bd2 24. b5 cxb5 25. Nxf1 Bxc3 26. Rxb5 Qe7 27. Qxg6 White is still a pawn up with ~0.4 advantage. After his 22. Qe6 I didn’t quite like my position and decided to exchange the queens thinking that the arising endgame should be equal. It was a mistake.

As soon as he played 24… Kc7 I got a bad feeling. I couldn’t avoid a loss of a pawn, the best I could get was to transfer into a rook endgame. 34. Ra5+ was not good as well as 35. Ra2, I had to approach my king. He missed a chance to play 35… b4, after which the “b” pawn would become very dangerous. His slow play allowed me to improve the position of my pieces. Computer confirmed, that my decision not to play 46. Rxb5 was right, he would win my “f” pawn and his “f” pawn would become unstoppable.

My 48. f4 was a mistake, I simply didn’t see where I could put my rook after my 48. Rf4+ or 48. Rf6 would be followed by Ke5. But simple 48. Rh5 was keeping the balance. Eventually I was able to take “b” pawn and approach my king to the kingside. I had in mind Philidor position, it became unavoidable. At some point he realized that and offered a draw.

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It was round 4 in Thursdays club, my opponent was an old gentleman, never played him before. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. His move 7 wasn’t the best choice, that was amplified by 9… Nf6 which was a mistake. He tried to complicate things by b5, I rightly played Bb3.

Then suddenly he played 12… Nxd4, computer says Nh6 was worse. Here was the first moment I basically could win the game just by playing Bg5, then taking on d4, computer evaluates it as +3. But I decided that getting bishop for two pawns is not good enough and thought that playing exd6 and opening “e” vertical would be better, it was worse just giving back most of my advantage. Playing Qb3 was another mistake, I missed that I can’t play Re1 after Be6 because of Bxf2+.

Anyway, after he played 17… Qxd6 and offered a draw, I refused. I thought my position is better, it was and his queenside castle made things worse for him. Computer prefers 19. Rc1 with the Bf4 (after Ne2) threat to my obvious 19. a4. Then he made a crucial mistake by playing c6. I expected his 22… Bd5 and prepared Nxd5, which I played right away. Instead of it 23. Nbxd5 would be KO, it is +15 after that.

Then I made another obvious move 24. Rxc6, thinking that after 24. Nxc6 Kb7 my pieces will be hanging, but Rb6 was solving that. My next moves were giving back my advantage, 26. Rb3 and 27. Qg3 were much stronger than moves in the game. Eventually after 30 moves I decided that my chances in the endgame are better and offered queens exchange. He had much less time at that moment and offered a draw again, I refused. I sincerely thought that I have material advantage.

I stopped writing moves soon after that, I remember that we exchanged pawns on the kingside, so he was left with 2 and I with one there. I had a funny thought then that I should avoid exchanging the “h” pawn because he could sacrifice his rook for the “b” pawn and I will have to mate him with bishop and knight and I didn’t remember how. His time was going down after every move and he flagged. He said that it was a draw, I answered that I am not sure. I was actually upset that I didn’t win earlier, realizing that I had a big advantage. At home the computer estimated the position as 0.00.

 

 

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.

It  was 5th round in the Thursdays club, my opponent was a boy rated 1479. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. I think I was not yet in a good shape, that’s why I played anti-Marshall after 7… 0-0. I played it only once and lost to 1900 rated guy.

Computer thinks that I could play Ba4 on move 15, I played it a move later. I decided not to give up my Spanish bishop for an extra doubled pawn, computer approved, giving only 0.12 after 16. Bxb4 Nxb3 17. axb3 d6. Then I got a feeling that my position is somewhat inferior and tried to improve it. 33. Rxc6 with following 33… Qxc6 34. Bd8 was better than my 33. Bc3.

After 33… Qc4 I didn’t like Qc2, it looked passive and decided to sacrifice a pawn by playing Ra1. It was not sound, but he played Kh7. Though my next move wasn’t the best, computer still wanted me to play Qxc2, I intercepted the initiative in a few moves. He decided to counterattack on the kingside. His f5 didn’t look like a good idea to me, but I missed 44. g4, I saw it only after I played Qd5. I wanted to use his king’s position, but couldn’t find the right move, I had left less than 5 minutes after 48 moves.

There was 50. Qf1 Nc7 51. Qd3, I missed it. Than it came a crucial moment after 52. Qc6 Qb3. I could play 53. Qxb5 with following 53… Qd1+ and Qxd2, but I had like 1 minute and 20 seconds left and that queen endgame didn’t look clear to me. I didn’t see that after 53… Qd1 I had 54. Qf1 Qxd2 55. Qxf5+, then Qe4 with extra pawn, computer evaluated it as +1.  So instead I went for a perpetual.

It was a first round of the new tournament in Monday’s club and I got again the master I played a week before. I had White, he played his usual French, this time it was Tarrasch, open variation. Later I found that we played it 3 years ago and had a draw.

We followed the book, his 13… b5 was a novelty. Then on a move 15 he made a serious mistake, he even later called it a blunder. It was a combination – 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Rxe6, winning 2 pawns. I swear to god that not once during the game I considered sacrifice on e6, before and after a castle, game will prove that. But it was always taking with one light piece on e6, then with another, never with a rook.

As I remember at that moment I didn’t see how I can improve the position of my pieces, so played h3. He then started to press on the queenside, but by his own expression “overstretched”. After playing 22. Nd4 I suddenly saw that the sacrifice on e6 is finally possible and played it. He couldn’t take my knight because of the weak 8th horizontal as well as the threat of Bd6+.

So I got an extra pawn. Computer thinks that I had to keep my rook. The exchange on e7 was a mistake, after 35. b4 I would have 0.8 advantage. So he got his pawn back, I thought that in the pawn endgame I would have some advantage, so exchanged the light pieces. Soon I realized that I am not winning this game. I was already in the time trouble as well as him.

There was a clear draw after 49. Ke3 Ke5 50. f4 Kd5. I played 49. Kg3, it was OK too, because after 49… Ke4 50. f3+ Ke3 I had 51. Kg2. But I think I didn’t see Kg2 and suddenly played impulsive g5. He didn’t take it as I expected, but just calmly played 50… f5. Then I realized that I am lost. I was upset of course and he was even apologetic saying that it was a draw.

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.

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