chess endgames


It is not about Bruce Willis and his “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, it is about playing again the Fort Knox variation in French against the same guy. He was OK after the opening, 17… b5 was suspicious, then he made a mistake playing 18… Qd5.  I saw that after 19. Bb3 he is losing a pawn and played it. His 21… Qh4 was strange, I checked and didn’t see anything dangerous. Still I liked 22. d5 more than simply taking the pawn. Unexpectedly he played 22… e5 and then I realized that I can’t take it after 23. Rxe5 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Qf4, of course I was seeing ghosts as the rook could go to e1. Anyway computer prefers my move, Qxb5.

Then he made a big mistake by playing 25… Nxd5, but I was concentrated on defense and didn’t see 26. Qd4 winning “e” pawn. It was some maneuvering, then he missed my 34. f3.  Computer doesn’t like my queens exchange offer, but I didn’t have much time and the threats like Qb1+ bothered me.

Move 43 was the last crucial moment of the game. After the game my acquaintance master came up and said that instead of losing 43… Kxg4 my opponent could play 43… Ke4 with very active position. It was right, he could get good drawing chances. I ran shootouts, about half of them ended up with a draw, another half with White winning.

 

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It was a second round, my opponent was a young guy, I played him a year ago and won, Sicilian again. This time I played Moscow Variation. Starting from move 11, he had to play d5, but he didn’t do it. My pieces were kind of tangled, so intention of 17. Nd5 was to untangle them.

The position eventually simplified and after some maneuvering we ended up in the same-colored bishops endgame, absolutely equal I have to say. I thought about offering a draw, but didn’t want my offer to get refused and also didn’t see anything wrong with continuing to play. He, I realized later, wanted more and started to press.

When he played 43… g4, I realized that he probably over-pressed. Computer evaluates it as 1.36 and thinks that I missed the opportunity by playing 44. Bf2. Somewhere at that moment he offered a draw, but I saw that he is making his bishop bad and said I will play. After his 47… Bd6 I found c5 strike. Then he made a bad move again playing 49… Kf7. He tried to complicate the matters by getting all my pawns on the kingside, but it was lost.

It was a 2nd round in the Thursdays club. I had a stressful day, but decided to play. My opponent was a boy rated 1391, still he beat a 1600 rated guy in the previous round. I had Black, we played familiar to me line of Giuoco Piano.  After I already played 16… f5, I noticed that in the line 16… f5 17. Bxf5 Bxf3 he has a fork 18. Ne6 and started to regret the “impulsive” move.

But the computer said that after 18… Qf6 19. Nxf8 Qg5 20. g3 Rxf8 I had two knights for a rook and pawn. The best for him was 18. Bxg6 hxg6 19. Ne6 Qd7 20. Nxf8 Qg4 21. Qxg6 Rxf8 22. Qxg4 Bxg4 with an equal position.

Anyway, he decided to take a safe approach and played 17. Bxd5. Then I got a feeling that 22… Rd8 gave me some initiative. He made a mistake taking a pawn on f5. After his 26. Qh5 a critical moment came. I saw Rxf3, but thought that in the line 26… Rxf3 27. gxf3 Nxf3+ 28. Kf1 I can’t take his rook because of the mate on e8. The thing is I had 28… g6! and if 29. Qh6 then Qd3+ 30. Re2 Qd1 31. Kg2 Qxe2 and I am winning.

So after my prosaic exchange on f3 it was an equal position. Suddenly he played Re3. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it happened when he had 36 minutes left and I had 14. The pawn endgame was of course completely won for me and in a 15 moves he resigned.

It was a second round in Monday’s club, my opponent was a young man rated 1699, I drew him 3 years ago. I got White, we played again Rossolimo variation.  It was equal until move 20, then I played Ne4. It was a right idea to use the pin, but I had to play g4 first, if 20. g4 Bc8 21. Rxe8 Rxe8 22. Ne4 White eventually wins d6 or c5 pawn (if Black plays d5 at some point).

We spent a lot of time by the move 25, he spent more, maybe it was a reason he blundered a pawn. I had to play 30. Kc4, I saw it, but didn’t like the diagonal check, not seeing that after 30. Kc4 Qf6 31. Kb5 Qf1+ I had c4. Then I missed his Qe5 reply when I played b4. A few moves later he went for a perpetual.

My opponent this time was a long time foe and friend. I had White, so we got French, Tarrasch, he took on e4 on a 3rd move. I thought I will have a better perspectives castling queenside. Then he surprisingly played 12… Qh6 and after queens exchange I was +1. Another surprise was when he played 16… Bc6. It made his position even worse.

So I started to press positionally, but my pressure was not yielding any result. Computer recommends 27. b4. Finally I found 28. f5, it was a right idea, but I had to double the rooks and get the “f” pawn back. Computer gives a nice line – 29. Ref1 Nb6 30. Rxf5
Nd5 31. Nf4+ Kxf5 32. Nxd5+ Kg5 33. Nxe7 Rxe7 34. b4.

Computer thinks my opponent didn’t play the exact moves starting from 32… h4 and that after 35. Rxf5 I would have ~1.5 advantage. I still played Rxf5 on the next move and then on move 38 a critical moment came. 38. Rxa5 looked risky to me with inevitable losing of “h” pawn and his passed pawns on the kingside. But after 38. Rxa5 Rg2 39. Ra7 Ne5 40. Rxc7 h5 41. Nxe5 fxe5 42. Rxc6 Rxh2 43. b4 I was +2.00.

So the position became equal, but then after my 42. Ne4 and 43. Kf4 I got worse and he had a chance if he would play 43… f5!. Instead he decided to go for a rooks exchange. I quickly realized that I am fine in the knight endgame. We both played the exact moves, then he forced a draw.

It was a first round in Monday’s club. My opponent was a boy rated 1616. I got Black, he played Scotch gambit. I decided to play the main line with 4… Nf6. I knew that line a bit, though played it OTB just one, max two times.

After his 14. f4 I decided to play f5 to stop his pawn attack on the kingside. He looked surprised and spent some time trying to find a plan. Then I completely missed that after his Na4 he controls c5 and really didn’t like it. I considered Bb5, but thought that bishop will be vulnerable there. So I played g5 to spice the things up. Here I missed 21… d4 strike. After 22. Nxd4 Bxd4 23. Bxd4 c5 24.  Nxc5 Nxc5 White has to play h3 to prevent the devastating consequences of Bb7+. On move 23 I considered d4 with the idea of cutting off the piece on c5, calculated it, but my calculation was wrong and I didn’t play it, same on move 24.

As a result I got worse. White missed 28. a5 and if Bxa5 then Qf2-Qe3-e5 with the horrific attack. When I decided that I am out of the trouble he played 32. Qe3. I noticed the Qe3-e5 threat and thought that the only defense from the mate would be to exchange on c5, then taking on e6. I saw that I was losing then two pawns – “a7” and “c7”, but thought that opposite-colored bishops would give me a draw. Instead of it the cool 32… a6! 33. Qe5 Kg6! was leading to an equal position.

In the endgame my plan starting from 38… Kd7 was wrong. I think I would be better off keeping my king on the kingside with the bishop stopping the “a” pawn. My 40… h5 was a serious mistake, then my position deteriorated and I lost.

It was a second round in Mondays club, my opponent was a young man rated 1560. I beat him 8 months ago with White, this time I had Black. He played Scotch Gambit, I chose a passive, but pretty reliable line. Computer doesn’t quite like the exchange on g4. On move 16 I missed d5, which I of course considered, but didn’t like the line 16… d5 17. e5 Ne4 18. Nxe4 dxe4 19. Rxe4 not seeing that after 19… f5 White can’t take en passant.

On move 28 I got a bad idea of playing Ng4. I thought I will get some pressure, but actually I lost an initiative. He started to look confident, though the position was equal. Then I thought I could hold the bishop vs. knight endgame. But I completely missed a5, he actually could play it a move earlier. After a5 the game was practically over.

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