chess openings


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.

It is not about the money, it’s about one move in a second round game in the Thursday’s club.  My opponent was a boy, I drew him with White 7 months ago in the same opening, Sicilian, Moscow variation.

I had some pressure after the opening and after exchanges on e5 thought I can get an attack on the kingside. A crucial moment came after his 28… Re8.  I played an obvious 29. Rg5+ and after Kh8 suddenly realized that it is me who is now under pressure. Instead of 29. Rg5 I had to play 29. Ref1, then to 29… Re6 I could reply Rf7 and have about +1 advantage.

So, I had to make a few balancing moves and after he forced queens exchange I accepted his draw offer.

 

It was a 6th round at the Thursday’s club, my opponent was a boy, never played him before. I had White and we got Sicilian, Kan variation. I didn’t play the exact book moves, but got myself a playable position.

Then after exchange on a4 I got optimistic, thinking that I had an advantage. Actually, I did not. 22. b5 was better than 22. bxa5, I just thought that it would be difficult to defend that pawn.

23. e5 was a serious mistake, I had to switch to defense after that. 29. f5 was another error in judgement, I thought that I have some chances on the kingside, but I had none. Eventually having 6 minutes vs. his 25 I blundered a rook and mate in 1. Anyway my position was -9 at that moment.

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.

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.

 

 

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