chess strategy


It  was 5th round in the Thursdays club, my opponent was a boy rated 1479. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. I think I was not yet in a good shape, that’s why I played anti-Marshall after 7… 0-0. I played it only once and lost to 1900 rated guy.

Computer thinks that I could play Ba4 on move 15, I played it a move later. I decided not to give up my Spanish bishop for an extra doubled pawn, computer approved, giving only 0.12 after 16. Bxb4 Nxb3 17. axb3 d6. Then I got a feeling that my position is somewhat inferior and tried to improve it. 33. Rxc6 with following 33… Qxc6 34. Bd8 was better than my 33. Bc3.

After 33… Qc4 I didn’t like Qc2, it looked passive and decided to sacrifice a pawn by playing Ra1. It was not sound, but he played Kh7. Though my next move wasn’t the best, computer still wanted me to play Qxc2, I intercepted the initiative in a few moves. He decided to counterattack on the kingside. His f5 didn’t look like a good idea to me, but I missed 44. g4, I saw it only after I played Qd5. I wanted to use his king’s position, but couldn’t find the right move, I had left less than 5 minutes after 48 moves.

There was 50. Qf1 Nc7 51. Qd3, I missed it. Than it came a crucial moment after 52. Qc6 Qb3. I could play 53. Qxb5 with following 53… Qd1+ and Qxd2, but I had like 1 minute and 20 seconds left and that queen endgame didn’t look clear to me. I didn’t see that after 53… Qd1 I had 54. Qf1 Qxd2 55. Qxf5+, then Qe4 with extra pawn, computer evaluated it as +1.  So instead I went for a perpetual.

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It was a first round in the first tournament of the season , because of the problem during registering I was manually paired with my friend rated 1518.  We had 6 draws in the past, his rating dropped lately. He played English Opening, I replied with c6.  His 15. f3 was slow, I expected e4. His 18. Bh3 looked strange, 18… Ne8 (with the idea of Ne8-Nd6-Nc4) was better than my 18… Rc7.

After his 20. g4 I evaluated the position and decided that knight on f6 and bishop moved to f8 could hold it. So I continued my initiative on the queenside. Instead of his 24. Rc2 computer offers 24. fxe6 Nxb2 25. exf7+ Kf8 26. Qg6 b4 27. Rf2 bxc3 28. Rg2 Ng4 29. Qh7 Bf6 30. Bxg4, with some attack (for the knight for two pawns) with -1.5 estimate.

Then I found 24… e5, I thought it was stopping completely his attack. He had to play 25. dxe5 Nxe5 26. Qd4, still after queens exchange Black was better. After 25. Bc1 his position continued to deteriorate and he resigned after 35. Rxh3.

It was a last round, my opponent didn’t come and I was paired with a master whose opponent didn’t come either. I played quite a few times with him and got a few losses and a few draws, mostly with White. This time I got Black and played Semi-Slav.  First 10 moves followed the book, then he played 11. h3. His 14. f4 was a mistake, as after 14… Bd4+ 15. Kh1 it allowed 15… Ng4 16. Qe2 Qh4 17. Qf3 Nf2+ 18. Kh2 Bg4 19. Qg3 Qxg3 20. Kxg3 Nxd3 21. hxg4 with ~-0.8 estimate. But I didn’t see it and played Bb7 which proved in the future not to be a good move. Generally speaking in Semi-Slav Black pays e5 or c5 to free the light-colored bishop, so the bishop should stay on the according diagonal.

After 20 moves I felt that attack on the kingside is imminent and to prevent it played f5. Computer doesn’t like it and evaluates the position after that as +1.36. He switched to the queenside, I decided soon that I have nothing to lose if I sacrifice a pawn on c6 and free my bishop, taking also into account that we didn’t have much time left.

I played 33… Kh6 because I thought that with king on h8 I won’t be able to take with my knight on d6, letting him to double the rooks on 7th horizontal. He made a g4 breakthrough and after he found Qg3 it became a forced win, because the arisen endgame was hopeless for me.

It was a 4th round in the Mondays club, I came after a 4 weeks break. My opponent was a young guy guy rated 1684, I played him 5 months ago and won. This time I had White again and we again played Ruy Lopez, old Steinitz Defense.

I played Bg5 to provoke h6. Then I was surprised by his Ne7-c8-b6 maneuver  and thought it was passive. I thought that after 22. Qxf5 he is in trouble, but computer considers the position equal. But then he made a few non-accurate and too aggressive moves that completely ruined his position.

The worst was 24… Rxc2 after which I played Nf6+ without thinking and then right away saw the forced win – 26. Qe4. I still looked at Ne8 and Nh5, but didn’t see a clear win (Ne8 was equal and Nh5 was +3) and played Qe4. There was also Re1, even stronger. After a long thinking he found 26… Nd7. Of course I rejected taking the rook and played Nxd7, after that he resigned.

It was a first round of a new tournament. My opponent was a Russian-speaking acquaintance, rated 2158. I had a loss against him in regular and and a draw in rapid in the past. The second time in two weeks my opponent played London System.

His 5. Nc3 was a surprise, I had a feeling that I shouldn’t take on b2. He said after the game that he would play Nb5, it gives White an advantage. The best for Black was 5… c4. I played 8… Nd7 because of Qa4 threat and it was a mistake. 9… f6 was played for the same reason, I didn’t want his knight jumping on e5 after Qa4.

Feeling under pressure I decided to give up a7 pawn to improve my position. But then e5 was another bad, impulsive move, played out of desperation. After 31. Ncd6 I saw that I am losing and it affected me, causing the final blunder.

 

 

It was a last round. I had only 2/4 and bad performance rating, so didn’t want to leave it as is and went to play despite of being tired. My opponent was a guy I drew with some time ago in Italian game. This time he chose Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation and I played my favorite Bronstein variation.  We castled opposite sides, his 9. Rb1 was a novelty. I thought that my attack was developing faster and decided to ignore his demonstrations on the queenside.

After his king escaped to the center I decided to open it. I expected him to play 29. d4, not Kd1. Computer prefers to play 33… c5, I played it 2 moves later. I saw 37… Re8, but the time already started to affect me and I played Bd4 even feeling that it was not the best move. I missed an opportunity to win the game on the spot by playing 42… Bc2+. After 43. Ka2 Qb3 44. Ka1 Bxd3 45. Nd6+ Black is +6.

42… Qf6 was a mistake, letting him to play 43. Qe6+ with an equal position after queens exchange. But he didn’t play it and gave a check. He was getting into a serious time trouble having 10-15 seconds left before each move (increment was 30 seconds). My next moves were not the best, but then I found the winning 49. Qf2. He tried to make a move and his flag fell, I think it was a blunder Qb2 anyway.

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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