chess openings


My opponent was a young man and I got White. He played French and our Tarrasch transformed into Rubinstein variation. I got advantage after his 9… Nb6 and started to develop an attack on the queenside. Computer prefers Rc3 on move 17 or 18.

Then I missed 21. Rxc7. I saw it, but didn’t realize that after 21… Kxc7 22. Qa7 Black king has nowhere to go. His exchange sacrifice was a mistake, it allowed the same rook sacrifice on c7. I again missed it and decided that queens exchange will be OK for me.

He started an active counter-play, but his 36… Bb6 was a mistake. His next move was a game-losing mistake and he resigned.

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My opponent was an old guy, our score in the past was =1, -2. I got Black and played Semi-Slav. I didn’t quite like his 6. b3 though he would be OK after 6… Bb4 7. Bd2, but he played Bb2. I saw of course Qa5, but didn’t realize I could win a pawn after 8… Qa5 9. Rc1 Qxa2. Then I missed another opportunity by playing pre-move 10… Nxc3 instead of Ng4 winning “f” pawn. I saw Ng4 before playing Ndf6, but thought that he had Bg2 and O-O and after a3 forgot about it.

After 26. Bxd5 I spent quite some time, because I wanted of course to play exd5, but thought that he will occupy “e” line, so played cxd5 which I knew was worse. Actually I could play exd5, because he has to lose a tempo to play 27. f4, otherwise if 27. Rde1 I play 27.. f4 and if Re7 then Qh3 with advantage.

On move 32 I considered putting my rook on g3 with a purpose of sacrificing on g3, but didn’t see a forced win or even draw, so decided to play h5. Computer thinks that 36. Rg5 was better than Qg5 and was equal.

Then he suddenly blundered playing 39. Rg5. He had 45 minutes vs. my 25 and the only reason for the blunder, I think, was feeling under pressure. Though computer evaluates the position as equal after 39. Kf1, I would prefer to play Black here. Then after 40. Qxd4 he played Qc3.  I saw the check before that and certainly it looked very bad for him. After 42 … Rh3+ it was a mate in 2 and he resigned.

It was a second round and I got paired with a 1951 rated boy, never played him before. I got Black and responded to his 1. c4 with Semi-Slav. As soon as he played 10. a3 I knew that I have play c5, otherwise my bishop will be “bad”, I had it before. Soon I realized that he didn’t have pretenses to get an opening advantage, it calmed me down.

After 20 moves I noticed that there was a possibility of sacrifice on e3, but to my disappointment he played Bf3 and that from my point of view prevented the sacrifice. The thing is the line I would play – let’s say 21. Bd3 Ndxe3 22. fxe3 Nxe3 wasn’t giving me much advantage, the right move was 22… Bg5 with about -2.5. The same sacrifice was still playable after Bf3, but with a lesser effect.

Then he made a mistake by playing 33. Qc8. He could still hold it, probably, but then 37. Qxb5 was a crucial mistake. Instead of 38. Bc5 he had to give up the bishop and play Qf1. But instead of playing 38… Qb1+ 39. Qf1 Bh2+ 40. Kf2 Qc2+ 41. Qe2 Bg3+ 42. Kf3 e4+ with a win, I let him go with 38… Qf5.

I expected him to play 39. Qe2, which by the way was losing the same way as in the line above, but suddenly he played Qf1. The saving move was 39. e4, it was leading to a draw.

After winning the queen the game was over, he resigned one move before getting mated.

It was a new opponent and I got Black. I chose Semi-Slav, the opening went well and I was comfortable with the placing of my pieces. I lost that feeling after 15. h3, seeing f4, f5 threat. I thought that I don’t want to think about it all the time and played Bf5. Computer suggests 15… Nc4, I considered it, but didn’t like spoiling my pawn structure. But after 16… Bd3 White is -1.22. Still I knew that I have good chances on the kingside.

On move 21 I missed d4! and then 22. exd4 Nf3+! winning exchange, because it’s mate after 23. Bxf3 Qxe1 24. Rxe1. Then I saw a rook sacrifice and after some checking went for it. Then I saw another strike – 27. d4.  I considered 28… Nh4+, computer prefers it, but played Nxg3.

Computer found another combination – 30. c2 with a win, I didn’t see it. Then I made a mistake playing 31… Ne4. Still I was better and his 34. Rdxf7 was a crucial mistake. He couldn’t take with the other rook, it was losing, but 34. Bc1 was keeping him alive, at least for some time. I saw 34… Bf6 right away. After move 36 I knew that the game was over, it became technical.

 

These games were played last Thursday and Monday, in rounds 4 of the respective tournaments. In both cases I had White and my opponents played Sicilian Defense. I didn’t find the right plan and made some tactical mistakes in both games.

Thursday’s game – my opponent was an old former master, I had +1, -1 score with him before. We played Sicilian, Moscow variation, I chose a quiet line. Then it was a positional play until we reached move 23. After his Qc6 I saw that I can win a pawn on a5, but thought that after rooks exchange he will catch my knight – 24. Rxa5 Rxa5 25. Nxa5 Qa4, but didn’t see 26. Qa7. If you would look at the end of the game you would realize how crucial this pawn was. I played 24. Raa1 and after a4 he intercepted the initiative. Then instead of 27. Ra2 I played Qd4. The idea was close – to do something against the “a” pawn, but what was needed was blocking. Then on move 29 I missed it again and quickly got really worse. His attack developed and soon I lost.

Monday’s game – my opponent was a Russian speaking boy, who grew from a “B” class player to a master on my eyes, my score with him in the last 4 years  was 2.5:4.5 (with a positive score in a few years before that). He played Sicilian Defense, I chose Rossolimo variation.  It went wrong almost from the beginning, when I decided to develop my bishop to b2. Then it was a very bad idea to take on f4. As soon as I played it I realized that when I will move my knight after 17… exf4 he can play f3 with really serious consequences for me. But he probably didn’t see it and played Rxf4. It was difficult to find the right moves and I was getting worse and worse. On move 28 I decided to sacrifice a pawn, but it didn’t give me any relief. In the endgame his queen was very strong and it decided the game.

 

This game was played 2.5 weeks ago, on Thursday. my opponent was a teenager boy,  I had 2 draws with him with Black. This time I had White and he played Sicilian, d6. I chose my favorite Moscow variation, Maroczy bind.

Two things were unusual for this line – I put my knight on c3 only on move 22 and he counterattacked on the kingside without castle. I did not believe his attack was sound, but decided to be careful. After all the smoke disappeared, he found himself in a worse position.

I thought that his queens exchange was a mistake, but 22… exd4 was not better. He got a couple of weak pawns that was difficult to defend. He also had less time, like 7 minutes to my 15-20. His 26… Ke6 was a mistake and 27… Ke7 lost the game.

It was a round four in the Thursday’s club, I had Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated again. My opponent was a boy, never played him before.

The first interest moment came when he suddenly played 19. Ne6. I looked at it and realized that accepting it would be bad after 19… fxe6 20. Qe7 Rf7, so decided to decline it, but spend some time thinking about the right reply. I considered 19… Ne4, but didn’t see any advantage in 20. Nxd8 Nxd3 21. Qd2 missing that after 21… Rxd8 22. Qxc3 Qc6 White has to play 23. e4 because 23. Qb2 or 23. Qc2 is met with b5. Another line 19… Ne4 20. Rd3 Rxd3 21. Qxd3 Qe7 22. Bd5 Nf6 23. Bxb7 Qxb7 24. Ng5 is -0.80.

Instead I played 19… Rd6 and in a few moves got some pressure on “d” vertical. But after 24… f6 Black’s position also became vulnerable due to the weakness of a2-g8 diagonal. My 32… d3 sacrifice was not necessary, instead Qd8 was keeping the pressure and defending the kingside at the same time.

After 35 moves I had about 3 minutes left. I saw that Rxh6 was possible and wanted to defend, but didn’t have enough time to calculate properly and played Rd7. It was a mistake, 37. Rxh6 gxh6 38. Qg6+ Kh8 39. Qe8+ Kg7 40. Qxd7+ Kf8 41. Qd8+ Kg7 42. Bc4 was winning.

Luckily for me he didn’t see it. I stopped writing the moves at that moment, remember playing Qf8 on the next move, so Rxh6 was not possible anymore. Then I created again a pressure on e4, he made a mistake and was forced to give up his “b” pawn.

In the end we had the following position, where I repeated the moves.

This position is equal after Bg2.

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