chess openings


It was a last round in the Thursdays club. My opponent, young man rated 1693, instead of playing expected Sicilian e6, played Hyper Accelerated Dragon. I took into account my shape after super stressful day and decided to take it easy, so made it closed.

My move 11. Ne2 was unfortunate and let him to create some pressure. 11… d5 was forcing me to exchange the dark colored bishop, his 11… Qd7 also looked like it was forcing that. I didn’t want to give up a pawn or the bishop, not liking his bishop then sitting on h6. So I made that Ng1 move, though after 0-0-0 could have an equal position, because after 12. 0-0-0 Nxf3 13. Bxf3 Bxh3 the same Ng1 was getting back the “h” pawn.

I was feeling uncomfortable until my king escaped to the safe place. Then I intercepted the initiative. After his 29. Qb4 his possible Nc4 jump was getting on my nerves and I played Nd5, though had a feeling that it was not the best move. Instead after 30. f4 Nc4 31. Qe2 I was +1.50.

So after 30. Nd5 the game became equal, then 40. Qd3 was inaccuracy, he could play Re1 with -0.50. Instead he played Rf5 and I trapped it by f4. I had a feeling that 43. f5 won’t give me anything and that was right, I could even lose after 43. f5 Nd7 44. fxg6?? Ne5!! 45. gxf7 Kg6 46. Qd1 Ng4. Move 46 was the last move in my scoresheet, I stopped writing the moves. Around that time with me having 3 minutes vs. his 2 I offered a draw. It was a psychological mistake. I thought I was better, nevertheless he just didn’t say anything and continued to play.

I couldn’t find any plan, my threats on the kingside were toothless. With 1 minute remaining (15 seconds increment) I started to make mistakes, my bad shape showed finally. I let his knight to get to g4 and his queen also got into my territory, as a result I lost an exchange. Then I also blundered on pin my f5 pawn and his rook got free, that was the end of it. I was upset of course, a draw would bring me a shared first place.

Going home I realized that if I would attack on the queenside after trapping his rook, I would have a big advantage. So I ran computer analysis, computer started with 47. Re3, then forced either queens exchange with White rook then attacking the queenside and winning or White queen and rook were getting to the 8th line, forcing Black to sacrifice the rook on f5 trying to get perpetual. The Black could get some counter-play, still with +1.80 estimate.

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It just so happened that I played twice this variation of Scotch Gambit this week. Lately I started to understand the ideas for Black, before I didn’t feel comfortable meeting this line.

Game 1 – I finished my work at 6pm after being stressed the whole day and managed to get on time to the club. My opponent was a boy rated 1632, it is a last round of Mondays tournament. On move 14 I played stopping f5. Then I played 18… c5 and after 19… Bc6 started to feel good about the position. I thought on move 20 almost 30 minutes about d4 and didn’t play it. Then my 24… d4 finally followed, but his 25. Bf6 forced me to reevaluate the position.

I decided to sacrifice an exchange, seeing that it deflects any attack on the kingside and my bishops are very strong. At home I was surprised that computer evaluated my sacrifice only as -0.22, but even more surprising was that I was winning after 25… dxc3! 26. Rxd7 Qxd7 27. bxc3 Qd1 28. Ne1 Rf7 with White pieces completely out of play and -5.00 estimate.

Anyway the initiative was on my side. His 30. b4 wasn’t a good move, then after 30… Qe6 I expected 30. Re1. He played Rg1? and I got an idea of attacking his g2 square. My 31… Re2 was a right move, it is actually -5.70. I saw possible 32. Nxe4, but didn’t like exchanging the queens and going into endgame, so I decided to reply Qe4 to any of his moves, keeping the attack. He played 32. Nxd4 happily saying something, I quickly replied 32. Qe4 and suddenly to my horror he just took my rook. I realized that I blundered, my emotional state finally showed.

Then forced queens exchange followed and after resisting for 10 more moves I resigned. I was very upset, I got even more upset when at home computer told me that after 32…Rxd2 he was either mated – 33. Nxe6 Bxg2+! 34. Rxg2 Rd1+ 35. Rg1 Rxg1# or was losing the queen.

Game 2 – I had a quiet day at work, had to spend almost hour and 30 minutes to get to the club because of the rain. My was opponent was the same boy as year ago in the same round of the same tournament. He played Scotch Gambit then and I won in d6 line. Now it was Dubois-Reti variation. He played pretty confidently, but his 13. Nc3 looked suspicious. Then I found a right moment to play f6. Computer thinks he had to play 21. exf6 with an equal position, after 22. Rfe1 I got an advantage. But my 23… Rf5 was’n the best move, 23… Rf2 24. Rac1 Rf4 25. Nd3 Rc4 was better. Then I saw 24… c5, but after some consideration decided not to play it.

His 28. Rab1 only looked good, computer recommends 28… Ke7 with -1.20 evaluation. But I decided to play 28… d4, it gave up all the advantage. We exchanged the rooks, then after his 35. Na6 I found defensive Bf7. To my surprise he decided to take on c7, I knew it was losing. He found a trick to save the knight, but the pawn endgame was lost for him of course. After some resistance 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.

This quote belongs to Emmanuel Lasker. My opponent in this last round was a guy rated 1502. He had 6 years break and was just playing for a few months, his old rating was ~1800, I beat him in 2011. So we got French, Tarrasch closed. The book says 11. Nf4 was the best move.

On move 16 I saw a possibility of Bxh7+ sacrifice and played it. 19… Rh6 was a serious mistake. 20. Qe8 looked risky, but I calculated that my queen will not be caught. Then 21. Re1 looked like the right move, I didn’t see how he can defend his e6 pawn. That was a moment when I think my bad shape started to show up. Not only I missed that he can force the exchange of the queens, but I didn’t see Ba3, the decisive move. I was so much concentrated on the kingside and forgot about the queenside. So the only move after 21. Ba3 was 21… Qf4 and I had to find 22. h4!.

After 22… Rxh4 23. Nxe6 Bxe6 24. Qxa8 Black is lost, 22… Rb3 23. Nh5 Bd7 24. Qxd7 Rxh5 25. Bxf8 Rxf8 26. Qxe6 White is +3.50. So I missed that opportunity and the game continued without queens. Then after 26… Rh4 I didn’t play 27. Rc7 Bc6 28. Rxe6, I saw only Bc6 locking my rook. 32. h3 Re4 33. Ng4 Bh4 34. g3 Bg5 was keeping the game equal.  My 32. Bc3 and 33. Rdc1 were not good, 33. Ra1 could save the day.

Then he also didn’t play exactly, my taking on b7 was right, even I thought later that it was a mistake. 38. Rc7 was a bad move, 38. h4 was equal. Soon my position deteriorated and I lost.

My opponent in that round was as expected, a boy I lost to a few times, last time about two weeks ago. I seriously wanted to change that. I prepared for the Scotch Gambit, but he suddenly played Giuoco Piano, then still sacrificed a pawn. I knew that I have to take with a bishop, I played this line at 2011 Canadian Open against ~2200 rated and drew after giving up the pawn back at one moment and getting a good position.

His 11. fxe5 was definitely a mistake, instead 11. Nc3 a6 12. fxe5 Nd7 was equal. His 17. b4 wasn’t a good move, I was gradually increasing my advantage. Then came a crucial moment of the game. I have to mention that after the game one boy came to my opponent and said something like “after Rd7 you missed…”.

At home I found out what he meant. After I played 20… Rd7? he could play 21. Nd6! and after exd6 the pawn takes with a check at the same time leaving the rook on h8 under attack. I saw Nd6 , but didn’t find anything suspicious. So I would have to play 21… Bd5 and after the following 22. Rxf7+ Kd8 23. Rxd7+ Kxd7 24. Nxe4 Bxe4 25. Bxb6+ Kc8 26. Bxa7 Bxc2 27. Rc1 Be4 computer evaluates it as +0.24. Luckily he didn’t see it.

Then I was able to use his weaknesses and win another pawn. Another crucial moment was when I played 38… Be4, computer thinks that I had to take on a2 and that my advantage could go down to -0.82 after 39. Nd3, but he played 39 . Kf6 and it was a bad move losing pawn on g3. Then my passed “g” pawn decided the game.

 

 

It was a first round in Mondays club, my opponent was a Russian-speaking man rated 1381. I had Black, he played Four Knights Game. I don’t know that opening well, so went for a safe line with d6. After his 8. e5 I could play 8… Ng4, I saw it, but thought that he can take on g7 after 9. exd6 cxd6 not seeing that 10. Qxg7?? was losing right away after Bf6.

After the queens exchange I was feeling alright having two bishops even at a cost of my pawn structure. In the line 12. Bg5 Nd5 13. Nxd5 I could play Bxg5 and have 2B vs. 2N, but preferred to improve my pawn structure. Then there was a positional play for quite some time  until I made a couple of small mistakes, 29… Bb3 and 31… Re7. Suddenly he played 34. Bc5 blundering a pawn. Then his position started to deteriorate little by little.

On move 49 I thought he would take a pawn on g7, but he saw Ra2 coming and decided to defend the “a” pawn. Taking g7 pawn was losing anyway. Soon in a completely lost position he resigned.

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.

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