chess endgames

It was a last round in the Thursday’s tournament and my opponent was an old guy, last time I played him was in 2013 and our score was +3, -3. Our opening soon transformed to Catalan, I didn’t have much experience playing against it.

On move 12 I missed a little combination: 12… Nxc5 13. Bg5 f6 14. dxc5 fxg5 15. Qe2 Qf6 , but I am not sure I like it for Black and computer says it is equal. Then I had difficulty to find the right moves, 17… f5 is an example.

I was feeling under the pressure and 26… was an attempt to get a counter-play. I missed 27. d5 and was worse, but then he made a mistake playing 30. c6. I played accurately after that and when we reached an equal rook endgame he realized that and offered a draw.

I got a 1961 rated opponent and had Black. He chose French, I played Tarrasch and we went along the lines typical for the games of the Candidates match between Karpov and Korchnoi in 1974, here is one:

11. Nbd4 was a little mistake, because he could play Nxd4 getting rid of an isolated pawn. I could take his d5 pawn on move 19, but didn’t like 19. Qxd5 Rxe1+ 20. Nxe1 Rd8 thinking that it gives him a good play, it’s a 0.5 advantage actually. But after 19. Rxe8 Rxe8 20. Qd5 Qd8 I have about 0.9 advantage. Then we ended up in a rook endgame, where I felt I have an advantage but didn’t see a way to use it. So I forced a three-fold repetition.

At home all computer shootouts were ending with White winning. It started with 42. f4 and after g5 (which was forced I guess) White rook was getting to the kingside through the 6th horizontal.



It was a round 4 in Monday’s club, my opponent was a boy. I had White and we played Ruy Lopez. He was playing very well until move 30. When I saw 30… Ne7, I realized that finally I can get an advantage. 32… Re6 was better that 32… Ree8 that he played. I had a choice between 33 Qg3 and 33. Bxh6 and eventually decided that Qg3 is simpler with about the same consequences for him, computer prefers Bxh6.

Then I sacrificed a knight on f7 and his position became really bad. After 37. Kf6 I saw Bg5+, but didn’t see the next move that led to mate – f4+!.  Another possibility to win, not so forced, was h4. But I was worried too much about Rh8 and played Qh4+.

I still had an attack going and missed 53. Rf1. By move 60 I had one minute left and even saw 60. Qg4, didn’t have time to evaluate it and chose a simple solution – to exchange queens and rooks. The arisen endgame was won for me and he resigned after he realized that.

It was fifth round in the Thursday’s club. I got Black again and played a boy, never played him before. We played Italian Game. I had an advantage in the opening and missed 16… b4!

Then he got a “Ruy Lopez” style attack on the kingside. I was holding up until I played Bxf5, Be6 was better. Computer criticizes my 34… Qd3, saying that Bh6 was much better. I thought that it was the only way to save the pawn on c4, but after 35. Nxc4 Nxc4 36. Bxc4 Qd2 37. Qf3 Black can force queens exchange with a transition into an opposite-colored bishops endgame.

After he played 36. Bd5 I thought that my days are numbered and made a desperate attempt to survive by playing 38… Bxe3 and 39… f5. He made two mistakes in a row – 40. Kd2 and 41. Bxe4. After he played 41. Bxe4 I saw that I can play Nb2+ and if he takes the pawn then after Nc5 he loses the bishop. The only way to keep advantage after 40… fxe4 was to play 41. Ke1, then after 41… Kf6 42. Bxe4 Nc4 43. Bxd3 Nxe3 he was still up a pawn.

So after his last inaccuracy – 44. g4, we reached a completely drawn position. When he realized that, we agreed to a draw.

Before this third round game in the Thursday’s club I didn’t sleep enough and had stresses, so wanted to take a bye. But I calmed down by the end of day and decided to play. I looked up a few opening moves in Sicilian e6, expecting one specific opponent with whom I played before and won. My guess was right, I got him and we played the same Szen (`anti-Taimanov’) Variation.

Frankly, all my opening knowledge ended up after 8 moves, so after his 9… b5 I had to decide what to do against upcoming b4. I saw that Nd5 was an only option and thought that if he takes on e4, then after Bb6 I will take his knight with a queen. As soon as he played Nxe4 I realized that I was seeing a ghost, because it was my king there on e1, of course, not queen. But I also saw that he has to move his queen and then I have a fork. He looked troubled and then he suddenly took on f2.

I didn’t like 12. Bxd8 and was seeing another ghost with 12. Kxf2 not liking Qh4+, though there was nothing after that. This and my earlier “vision” could be definitely explained by my state, it happened with me before. Then I saw 12. Bxf2 and played it.

So I got a knight for two pawns, much less than I could get after Kxf2. At that time I didn’t know that, I just felt that the momentum was on my side. Still I needed to play accurately in the arisen after queens exchange endgame. I found a simple solution with 46. Na3 not giving him any chances. I still remembered how I lost in the tournament in June in similar situation, just allowing my opponent to do whatever he wanted.

It became very technical soon and my main goal was not to make a mistake and at the same time advance my pawns. He resigned when it was a mate in 1 coming.

The most interesting in that game was a line behind the scenes, a really nice combination. It was a first round in a new season. I was afraid to get a 1-point bye and also didn’t feel quite in shape, so registered in the U1800 section. But they misplaced my registration, I wasn’t paired, so eventually I was paired manually with a guy from the top section. I played him before and had a positive score.

So I got White,  he played French defense. Right away I didn’t like his f6 and after his 8… f5 Houdini thinks that he is -3. I considered 9. Ng5, but thought that after h6 will have to go to h3. But instead of Nh3 computer suggests Nf7!. After 10… Kxf7 11. Ne5+ Kf8 12. Qh5 Qe8 13. Ng6+ Kf7 14. Nh8+ Kf8 15. Ng6+ Kf7 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Nxe7+ Kf8 18. Qxe8+ Kxe8 19. Nxf8 White is up a rook.

But I went to Ng3 and just continued to increase the pressure. On move 11 he missed my strike on f5 and lost a pawn. After I won another two pawns it became a matter of technique. In the pawn ending I didn’t realize until the end of the game that I could penetrate with my king through h4 with a fast win, but the way I choose wasn’t too much longer anyway.



I was able to predict who my opponent could be, looked at our last game and decided to play a bit differently. So, here he was, the guy I played with quite a few times and who 3 month ago was able to escape to a draw due to me missing several chances to win. He had White again and we played Ruy Lopez.

I played pretty fast in the opening and it led to one inaccuracy. After 12. Bxd4 I mixed up the order of the moves and instead of exd4 played Bxf3. He could play 15. Ne2 and get about 0.7 advantage, but by playing Nd5 he went along the same line – 12. Bxd4 exd4 13. Nd5 Bxf3 14. Qxf3. I was OK with the position I got.

The shift in the game started with his 27. Rxe4, after that I knew I am better. Then I saw that if we exchange the rooks, the endgame would be better for me due to his bishop being out of play and weakness of the dark squares on his kingside. He went along. Computer thinks he still was OK, but he had to play f4 on the move 35 or 36. But he played 36. Kf1 and it allowed Qd6 preventing f4.

39. c4 was a decisive mistake, though even after better 39. f4 Qxf4+ 40. Qf2 Qc1+ 41. Qe1 Qxb2 I was two pawns up. 44. Bxd5 could only prolong the agony, but after Bb5 I played b3 and he resigned.

It was a mate in 5 – 45. Qxa5  Qc2+ 46. Ke1 b2 47. Qa7+ Kh6 48. Qxh7+ Kxh7 49. a5 b1Q#.



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