chess openings


It was a 3rd round in the Mondays club. I unexpectedly got a 1281 rated young man. Before we started the game he told me that his last performance rating was 400 higher and his rating before that was about 1100. It made me play more carefully. My shape as I discovered later was not good, I was tired after Sunday’s trip.

I got White, Closed Sicilian. After the opening I started to attack on the kingside, but then didn’t see how I can advance and went for some preventive measures on the queenside.  Computer doesn’t like my 17. Bxc3 preferring Nxc3 with equality. Then I missed d5 and got into somewhat inferior position with -0.75 estimate. I didn’t want to get into a passive defense after 27. Qxc1 Rc8, then Qc7, so decided to sacrifice a pawn and try to counter-attack.

30… Nc5 was a crucial mistake. I saw 31. Nh5 of course, but then thought that after 31… Bxh5 32. Rg1+ Bg6 33. fxg6 Qe7 he is OK. But he is actually not because of 34. g7 Rb8 35. Bg4 and he has to give up his queen. So I played 31. Be2 which was missing the win because of Qe7. But he didn’t see it and made the same mistake again playing Na4. Here I decided to burn the bridges and played Rg1. I was not thinking clearly and thought that his king can escape to h8, still… Suddenly he shook my hand, resigned and said that he had to play Qe7, not Qd6. I accepted of course, but couldn’t undestand why he resigned, thinking he saw ghosts.

On my way home I analyzed the position again and started to think that maybe there was something. At home I saw of course, that escape to h8 doesn’t help – 32… Kh8 33. Nh5 Rg8 33. Rxg8+ and mate next move. The best for him was Ba2, then king could escape to f7. Still after 32… Ba2 33. Nh5+ Kf7 34. Rg7+ Ke8 35. Ra7 Nb6 36. Nf7+ Kd8 37. Rxa5 White is +4 and winning.

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It was a 4th round in the Thursday’s club, my opponent was a boy rated 1596. He had White and played Scotch Gambit. I had it 4 months ago and went along the same line with 5… d6. It is a 3rd book choice, but with good stats.

I was feeling under pressure until move 20, he could play 19. f6 with 0.5 advantage. Then I equalized, then suddenly he played 25. Kf2, it wasn’t a good move. His position started to deteriorate.

I considered 29… Rxe4 and didn’t quite like it, because it would lead just to a rook endgame with me being pawn up. So I found 29… d5. His 32. Rxd5 was a game losing mistake and after 32… Qxf5 he resigned, Computer evaluated this position as -9.

It was a last round, I was playing against the leader having 4/4 (despite of his 1442 rating). I expected him, looked at the game that I won with Back against him, but unexpectedly got White. He played French, I chose Tarrasch closed as usual and after 11 moves was on my own, as Bf4 that I remembered didn’t look alright because of Qxb2. I wanted to prevent e5, but didn’t see how and only after I played 15. Qd2 I saw that I had to provoke, not prevent e5. If let’s say 15. h3 e5 then 16. Rxc6 bxc6 17. dxe5 and I win 2 pieces for a rook. But it was already late, as now it didn’t work.

I was feeling under pressure until 23. h3, but then realized that I am OK and his position has some weaknesses including king cover. His 23… h5 just strengthened that point of view. I saw that I can play Nxh5 with the following queen check, but then I thought that Rf7 prevents it, not seeing the check on e8.  Then I saw 27. Nxg7, but again thought that it is not possible because of 27… Ne4, but White just plays 28. Nxe6 and stays the pawn up.

Instead of 31. Nd4 I could play 31. Qh4 Kg8 32. g5 and Black can’t move the knight because of g6 threat. 31… g6 was a game losing mistake.

It was 6th round in the Thursdays tournament, my opponent was a boy rated about 1300. He had White and played Italian game, the line that I know pretty well. We followed the book until move 14.

I played 16… g6 because of possible Re5, to keep my knight on f5. 19… Nxc3 was forced by Nxd5 with following Re5. I expected 24. d5, intended to play Qf6 and was surprised by his Rd3. I was also surprised by his 30. gxh5. By his move 32 I got annoyed by his two draw offers and lack of progress, though I thought that I am better.

It forced me to play 32… c5, computer estimates it as equal and prefers 32… f5 33. Rf4 g5 with a -0.5 estimate in a few moves afterwards. I thought that I will get an attack and by the way he had 11-12 minutes left and I had about 7. His 36. Qe3 was a horrible mistake. I made a mistake too, deciding for some reason that there is a mate after 36… Qh1+, suddenly he played Kg3. 36… Rh1+ was winning on the spot.

I quickly realized that my attack will disappear after 38. Kh4. But he played Kf4 and after g5 I saw Qe4+ coming. He saw it too, gave up the rook and after 40… Re1 had to resign.

After the game I had a feeling that my play was mediocre. I came home and computer told me that I had my chance and some of my ideas were right, but I didn’t find the right moves. So, it was 5th round in Thursdays club and my opponent was a boy rated 100 lower.

I had White, played Ruy Lopez and he chose Classical defense deferred. After the opening the game became a positional struggle. I thought that his queen was at some risk, thought how to use it, but couldn’t find the decisive move. Computer doesn’t like my Nh2-f1-e3 maneuver, saying that I could play 24. Nf5 ( Black can’t play 24… Bh5 because of 25. g4, then h4). His flashy 28… Nd5 was a big mistake because of 29. h4! Qg4 30. Qd2 and Black loses a piece. Unfortunately I didn’t see that. I played 29. Qd1 and my next queen move 30. Qc1 was bad too, h4 still worked – 30. h4 Qxg3 31. Nxg3 Nxd1 32. Rxd1 with equal position. If 29… Qg4 30. Qd2 Bxf5 31. Nxf5 White is better.

After queens exchange and him taking on a2 I didn’t see that after 32. Ra1 Nb4 the knight would attack my bishop so I still lose a pawn. I got worse, then his another flashy move – 41. c4 was again not good giving up all the advantage. But then strange thing happened, probably time trouble affected me, I had less than 10 minutes left. I considered 44. Rg4!, but didn’t play it, even though I saw Rde6 coming. Then on the next move Rg4 was already a decisive mistake. After 48…  Reb2 the mate became inevitable.

I had a dilemma that day trying to decide what to do – go to the club or watch playoff hockey. I decided on hockey and then changed my mind. My opponent was a boy rated 1312. He surprised me with the opening, playing 3… c5 variation in French, Tarrasch. I got a gut feeling that he will play 7… Qb6 and he did. I decided to exchange the bishop and get ahead with development.

I missed his 11… Bxf3, but saw right away that he shouldn’t take on c2, though probably he will get greedy and take it. I considered 14. Bd2, then played Qc3. Suddenly he played 14… Kd7. I knew that it was a crucial mistake, looked carefully at the position and found Re6. I calculated only until I saw that I can get back the rook with a check. He spent quite some time and played the best move, giving up the queen for the rook and the knight.

Then I played Qxg7 and seriously regretted it right away. After a few moves I “restored the order” and started again to attack his king. Computer thinks that the best was 32. Kh1, not Bf2, anyway he resigned on the next move.

 

Anton Chekhov – Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history, once said: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there”.

I found it very well related to the game I played in the 3rd round of the Mondays tournament. My opponent was a man to whom I lost once in 2015, I do not remember how, but I remember it was painful. So he got White and played Vienna gambit. I remembered the first few moves, then was on my own. After exchange on f3 I intended to exchange the bishops too, but then didn’t like the arising position thinking that he will be well developed and operating on the “f” vertical, so I played Be6. Basically for the same reason I castled queenside, also I saw that I could open the lines faster than him. The pawn sacrifice was first of the guns. Then I saw his combination starting from 22. Nxd5, but thought that after 22… Bxd5 23. Bxd5 Qxd5 24. Rxf6 I have 24… Rxh2. The thing is he can play 23. Bg4 Be6 24. Bxe6 Qxe6 25. d5 with advantage.

I decided at that moment to move “g” pawn to create an outpost, it was the second gun. Then after his 26. Rxf4 I really didn’t like my position and thought that I could lose. 26… Nd8 was played as a defensive move first, then I saw Nd8-f7-g5 maneuver. 31. Bg2 was actually still holding the position, but he probably didn’t like Rxh2. He got behind on time, having about 5 minutes left vs. my 20. I expected him to play 37. Qf5, computer says that it is still lost. After his 37. Kg1 I saw Rxg2 and played it, he resigned. So, both guns eventually fired almost at once.

 

 

 

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