chess endgames

It was a third round in Mondays club and I got an old foe, +1,=2 with Black and -2 with White, funny. So luckily I had Black. We played the same line of Queen’s Indian Accelerated as 3 years ago. We had an equal position after the first 15 moves, then he made a mistake playing 16. a3.  I considered 16… Ne5 seeing that his knight is under double attack, but thought that he can jump like Nxe6 leaving my knight under attack too. I didn’t see that his Nd2 was hanging too. So the only choice for him would be to play 17. N4f3 with 17… Nxf3 18. Nxf3 Nxe4 following.

So I played 16… Qe7 planning to exchange my bishop to his knight and untangle my pieces. Then he went for exchanges, that gave me an idea that he wants a draw. I was OK with that I as didn’t think that I am in a great shape and believed that the arisen position was a draw. But he looked determined and continued to play. I was holding on and then he played 40. f5 that looked suspicious to me. Then he made a mistake playing 41. Bxd6. I missed an intermediate check 41… f4+! which after 42. gxf4 Kxd6 43. fxe5+ fxe5 would give me -3 advantage as his bishop would be simply bad.

We got an equal position, but he still wanted to win and played 46. g5, probably counting on something like 46… hxg5 47. hxg5 fxg5 48. Kg5 which would still be a draw by the way. But he missed an intermediate check 46… Bd5+, after which he is lost. I rightly took his pawn with my “f” pawn, not with the “h” one, that would be a draw, I just didn’t want to give him the “h” passed pawn.

On move 49 my Bf7 gave him a chance for a draw, he had to play Ke4 and then Kf5, but he didn’t see that. I was scared of 50. Bg6, but didn’t realize that after 49… Kd6 50. Bg6 Ke6 51. f7 my king gets to e7. After I took on f6 he played two more moves and resigned.


It was a first round in Wednesdays club. I got a #1 rated guy, my Russian-speaking acquaintance expert, he had White. He played London system, which soon became Queen’s Indian Accelerated. After 13 moves I got a position with hanging pawns.

After the game at the post-mortem there were a few people and one of them suggested 14… Nc6 instead of Nd7. His slow 17. Nf1 returned the favor and it was equal after the bishops exchange. You are supposed to play d4, but I don’t know if there was a moment to do that. On move 21 he forced c4 and here I think my inexperience with such positions showed.  I decided that since I moved the pawn I am worse. But computer doesn’t think so and Nimzowitsch in his “My System” gave an example when c4 can be alright, unfortunately I read it only after the game.

In fact 4 shootouts ran from that point ended up +1, =3 for Black.  I also read that you can create pressure on b2 pawn and I didn’t realize that, otherwise I would play 24… Rxc8  25. Rd4 Rb8. I didn’t find 26… Rd7 and after b3 was left with an isolated pawn. My 29… Qe6 was a mistake, maybe I already started to feel the time pressure. I knew that I would lose the “d” pawn and instead of calmly defending I went va banque and played g5, that was not reasonable of course.

He exchanged the queens and here I got my hopes up thinking maybe I can save 2 rooks ending. Computer says I had to play Rxa3, not Rf6, but shootouts say Rf6 was the move. At that moment I had maybe 15-20 seconds left, that’s why my next move 42… Rff4 was a decisive mistake, I had to play Re6. After his check I saw e6 coming after Kg7 or f6, but 43… Kf5 got me into a mating net after 44. Re7. Not finding defense I simply flagged.


This is a post #400, kind of a milestone. I am glad I am not posting my loss. 🙂

My opponent was an old guy, old foe. He played French and chose open variation in Tarrasch. He played it two times before and we drew both times, but this time he played 4…Qxd5…, not 4… exd5. After Qd6 I almost automatically played Qe2 to defend my bishop in case of Nb3 Qb4+. Also this move is played in 4… exd5 line, but here you usually play O-O. Still it is a second choice with even better stats.

My 17. Ne5 created a threat of Nxf7, he saw it and played Ne4. Then his 23… e5 gave me a tactical chance and I played Rd5. On move 27 I didn’t like Nd3 because of Rd8, so reluctantly played f4. Actually Nd3 was the best move. The 29. Bxe4 was a result of delusion, I thought that I can win g5 pawn, forgetting that my knight will hang. I thought later that it was a bad move, but I was still better and only after 30. g3 it became equal. The right move was 30.  h4. Then I made another weak move, sacrificing the pawn because I thought that I am worse and need counterplay.

After the queens exchange I started to feel like I am balancing on a tightrope. Only after 42. Nc3+ I finally felt that I am out of danger and even better. 45. Kf3 was a mistake, Kd3 was eventually giving me 2 passed pawns vs. his “h” pawn. After several more moves the game was drawn.

This quote belongs to Johannes Zukertort, it suits well to describe the recent events. The big tournament was coming and I wanted to play, but wasn’t sure that I will be able to play, I had too much work. I didn’t even register, but on Friday it calmed down and I was able to leave my work earlier because the first round was at 6pm and I still had to register.

Friday. Round 1 – my opponent is a guy, with whom I played a year ago and drew, the thing is his rating was 1043 and mine – 1718, so it was like a loss for me and I was very upset. He plays Sicilian and I play Moscow variation. His 11… Ne5 surprises me, computer recommends g5 with ~-0.4 evaluation. After his 15… Nxg3 computer suggests a little trick, Qg4 and then taking with a queen on g3, but to me fxg3 looks fine.

After 20 moves he decides to play on both sides of the board. I defend on the queenside and think that I have advantage on the kingside. On move 28 I don’t like what is going on on the queenside and play restrictive c4. Computer recommends Nd2, I agree, the knight has nice squares to jump then. I do that a move later. Then something interesting happens.

He plays Qh5, releases the queen and then suddenly takes it back. I firmly say: “You made the move”. He puts it on h5, then I start to think why he wanted to take it back. So I see 30. Ne4 and 31. Ng3. I play Ne4, then see, that he has 30… Rxf3 and 31. Nxd6 doesn’t work because of Rf5.

He thinks for some time and plays 30… Bc7, a game losing move. By the way Rf5 wouldn’t work because of g4, but Rf4 would save him. So I fork him and he makes another mistake playing 31… e4. I take his queen and in two moves the game is over.

Saturday. Round 2 – my opponent is a girl, I get Black. She plays Ruy Lopez, Exchange. I play, of course, Bronstein variation.  My  13… g5 misses Bd4. I am in a bit of a shock, then realize that Rxd4 gives me a pretty playable position. She manages to force the exchange of one of the bishops, I feel that dark-colored is stronger, proves later to be a right decision. Then my attack on the kingside starts to develop quickly.

I see 29… Bxg3, but it doesn’t look decisive to me and I am down a rook. Computer says it would give me eventually a queen and 2 pawns for two rooks. So, I play Bc5+ and then 30… Qxg3. suddenly she plays Qd8+. Again after an initial shock I see that I have an excellent bishop and at least a draw.

So I have a simple plan – hold on the kingside and use my pawn majority on the queenside and execution goes pretty smoothly. Eventually I get two passed pawns on the queenside. Her 55. Rg2 is a decisive mistake, I play c2+. In a few moves she resigns.

Round 3 – my opponent is a man whom I played in the summer of 2010, in the equal position he blundered a queen. I get Black again, not too happy about it. We play Queen’s pawn, which transforms into Queen’s Indian. I think that I can meet his 12. Ng5 with Qe7, but his 13. d5 comes as a surprise. I think I am in trouble and look for an escape. But computer doesn’t like his 12. Ng5 as well as his 13. d5. For some reason I don’t see 13… exd5 14. Bxf5 Nc5 15. cxd5 Nxd5 with ~-0.8. His 14. dxe6 is another not a good move, but I had to play h6, that would give me an advantage.

It is not necessary to give up the f5 pawn, but I am still OK. 23… c5 is a big mistake, I had to play a5. I have that bad idea about my knight going to e5. His attack naturally develops and I am in a big trouble. After 30 moves I am basically lost, but the queens exchange gives me a chance to survive. A long battle ensues where the evaluation varies from 0.5 to 3.5.

There is a nice forced line that I do not see – 72… Nf6 (threatening mate in 2) 73. Rf8+ Kxf8 74. d7+ Kf7 75. d8Q Ne4+ 76. Kh5 Rh2+ 77. Qh4 Ng3+ 78. Kg5 Ne4+ 79. Kh5 with a draw. I play on increment and just try to survive, but in a few moves I miss a bishop fork and resign. Someone tells me after the game, that I still could save my pieces and shows how. My moves in my scoresheet after move 74 don’t add up, it was 83 moves in total.

I ask TD if I can get a half-point bye for the 4th round, he says no, only zero point bye. The reason I ask is that I need to work from 11pm into night, not even clear for how long. I can predict my state next day, but also I don’t want to get nothing. So I decide to play next morning. I do my work, it goes until 2:30am, then go to sleep. In the morning I am more or less OK after a coffee, also take coffee with me.

Sunday. Round 4 – I get an unrated guy, he has 1600+ performance rating. He plays Sicilian e6, it goes off the book soon.  I have to play 11. d4, but it seems not clear to me, so I avoid it, taking into account my state, more coffee keeps me on board. Starting from move 16 he tries to counterattack, but I feel that my position is quite defendable. His e5 goes too far, I feel it and play Bd5+. His 23. Kh8 is a big mistake. I see Bxh6, but I also see Bxf2+ and give up on it.

Computer says Bxh6 is winning, taking on f2 with a check doesn’t change it. I don’t know how much of my miss I can attribute to my state and how much to my negligence, but the win was right there. His 24… exd4 instead of cxd4 still leaves me with  some advantage. But I don’t find 27. Be6 and after 28. Qe2 it becomes equal. On move 35 he offers a draw and I accept.

The boy is friendly, he talks to me after the game. He is from Singapore, visiting his relatives. He says that he has a FIDE rating ~1450, which should go up after the local tournament and also after this one, counts how many points he would get for this draw too, this is funny. I think that I value half a point that I still got more than a loss of a few rating points, time shows I am right.

I get some sleep in the armchair and feel better.

Round 5 my opponent is a young man from another city. I recognize him, he played with our Mondays club TD in the 2nd round, they were playing near me. At one moment he complained to the current TD about our guy, at that moment our guy was not at the board and was down a rook. So, he has 2 wins and last 2 games were draws. For some reason I decide that he would be OK with a draw.

I have Black, he plays Italian Game. The play is positional and it goes around f5 square for his knight. I have to say that during the whole game he adjusts pieces almost after every move. It annoys me, but not to the degree going to TD and complaining, I know were my concentration will be after that. At one moment I try to counterattack in the center. Eventually we are left with Q+R each, it looks drawn to me.

We have 6-7 minutes each and play on increment. He tries to regroup his pieces to attack using 8th horizontal, I hold on. Suddenly he blunders a rook and resigns in a few moves. I tell him that earlier I would accept a draw. On Monday I come to the club and find out that our guy blundered a rook in that game and lost eventually. The complaint was about him having his cell in his hand, the cell was off of course. I tell him that he would be the last person that I would suspect. My opponent was adjusting pieces in his game too. So, I tell him how my game went, I know he will feel vindicated and yes, he smiles and thanks me for telling that. Also looking at the final results I see that 3 people shared 2nd place with 4/5. I realize that my opponent was fighting for the 2nd place meaning prize money, as he had 3/4.

It was a last round in the top section at the new club. I was sharing a first place with 3.5/4 with a boy rated 1767 that played quite a few years in the USA and then it looks like he moved to Canada this summer. I thought if I need to play at all, as I had a lot to lose from the ratings point of view, even a draw would give me about 30 points less, due to a decrease of the performance rating and getting accordingly less bonus rating points.

But I wanted the first place and also a clean tournament, so I came to play. He got Black and played Pirc Defense, I hate to play against it, because it often gets murky. That’s what happened this time too. After he delayed fianchettoing of his bishop, I played Bh6 and left him without a kingside castle when his rook took on f8. As he advanced his queenside pawns, the queenside castle didn’t look well either.

The thing is, I got a similar problem, on the queenside I would get under attack and on the kingside he also played h5 and his rook was ready. My move Kf7 is criticized by the computer and I ended up with an artificial castle. On the queenside I lost a pawn, missing a couple of counter-strikes. First of them was 21. Qd4 Qc5 22. Nxb5, second – 24. Nxb5. Then I regrouped my pieces and started an attack on his king. My big mistake was advancing “f” pawn instead of “e” one, i.e. f5 instead of e5.

Computer doesn’t like 31. Nxf5 evaluating it as -1.65 and says that exf5 is equal. On move 33 I considered Rxf5, but then saw his knight’s strike on e4. I didn’t see how I could continue my attack after sacrificing an exchange. But 33… Nxe4 after 33. Rxf5 is a mistake because of 34. Nxe4 Rxf5 35. Qh6+ Ke8 36. Nf6+! Rxf6 27. Qxh6. Then my position started to deteriorate, I also got into a time trouble. My exhaustion after previous day, when I slept 5.5 hours and worked 10 kicked in, I started to lose pawns.

We ended up in a queen endgame that was lost for me, I was playing it on increment having less than a minute. After he managed to force the queens exchange I resigned. I was really upset after that game, but eventually calmed down. I still got a second place thanks to the best performance rating which was 2009 – my best in the last 4 years. The second place was also the highest result in the top section ever. My rating went up to 1760, so I will be able to play in the top section in another club too.

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.

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…

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