chess strategy

It was a round 1 of the Mondays tournament. My opponent was a girl rated 1475. I had White and we played Ruy Lopez. We got a position with a closed center. I missed 22. e5 dxe5 23. Bf5 winning an exchange.

I tried to develop an attack on the kingside, she was maneuvering pretty well. Somehow I lost the initiative and could get worse after 32… g5. I soon got annoyed with all that and decided to sacrifice a pawn in the center. Actually I had to play 36. d6 after her 35… dxe5 that was a mistake and I would be much better.

Anyway the position became dynamical and not easy to play, that was my intention. 45… Qd8 was not the best move, better Qa7. Then she made a decisive mistake playing 44… Kg7. I saw the possibility to promote with check and played it. Being almost a rook down, she blundered and resigned.


I played two games this week after a long break, Caro-Kann defense with different colors.

In the first game I had Black. It was an Advance Variation, computer recommends playing 12… Rc8 and 13… h5. Anyway I was OK until I played 15… Nh6 instead of Nh4. After 19. Nf4 I had to give up an exchange due to Ng6# or Nxe6 threats. Instead of 20… Na5 I had to take on b2, then Rdb1 leaves d4 pawn without defense and Rab1 is not good either, so 21. Qd3 is the best.

His 29. Qb1 was a blunder, it was strange because he had a lot of time. Computer says 34… Qg5 was a mistake and recommends 34… Rd3 with ~-3 evaluation. 37. Rf2 was another blunder, he could play Rd1. But then I made a mistake that decided the game. I hesitated to take on g4, after 38… Rxg4 39. Kh3 Rxg3+ Black is ~-4. After he played Rcf1 the position became equal, but I lost the initiative and was in time trouble. So no wonder I played 39. Bc5? instead of equalizing Rd2. After 40. Rf8 it became really bad, 40… Qxf8 was also losing, I evaluated that right. 41. Qb7 was played with 6 seconds on the clock.

In the second game my opponent was a young man, I played him 3 months ago and drew with White in Caro-Kann, he played Caro-Kann again. His 28… Rh6 was a mistake, after 28… Nxh5 it was equal. The same thing a move later, 29… Nxh5 was a huge mistake, I calculated right that g2 and g3 pawns will defend my king against the queen on h5.

But by move 32 I had only about 5 minutes left and made an error playing 32. Rxe6, instead Qa4 with 33. cxb7 after 32… Kb8 or 32… a6 was winning. Then I had to play 33. cxb7+ Qxb7 34. Qd3 covering b1 square. 34. Qf6 or 35. Qf6 was leaving me with some advantage. Instead I allowed a rook check on d1 and then even 36. Kf2, which was not risky as I thought seeing Qb6+, lead to an equal position anyway.

Still he made another mistake, taking on b6 with a pawn. There was a 41. g4 pawn sacrifice that was winning, but with less than a minute left, playing on 15 seconds increment, I didn’t see that. Then it was a pawn race and soon after we got into a queen endgame he offered a draw which I accepted. The final position was equal.

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 first round of a new tournament in Monday’s club. My opponent was an old guy, he told me he didn’t play in 25 years. Yes, he looked rusty sometimes, nevertheless played pretty well.

So, I had Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated.  His 31. Qg2 was not the best move and then 32. bxc5 increased my advantage. So, I won a pawn and tried to get a breakthrough in the center. 36. Re4 was better than Red7.

In the end I got under 10 minutes and he was under 20. I started to feel exhausted and not seeing a way to win, decided to offer a draw. He accepted.


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.

My opponent in this forth round at the Thursday’s club was an old foe with whom I had a few draws and losses in the past. I was quite happy seeing him playing Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation. I knew that a book move is 7… Bd7, but decided to play Bd6 to avoid 8. e5. I didn’t realize that e5 is not good for White after 8… Ne7 9. Be3 Nd5.

After 10. Nc4 I had a long thought. In one of my past games I allowed Nxd6 and then my “d” pawn became a liability. Be7 looked too passive. Bf4 was giving up two bishops, but I eventually decided to play it.

After we exchanged rooks I looked in the future with an optimism. I knew that he has a pawn majority on the kingside, but thought that my bishop is better than his knight in this position and I can hold it. This is exactly what happened, we went for a three-fold repetition in the end.

I ran many shootouts to evaluate that position, about 80% of then ended up with a draw. A few cases when White won happened when after e5 Black played f6 and after exchange got an isolated pawn on f6. Two very deep shootouts ended up with a draw. So, my understanding is that with a precise play  it is a draw.

It was a third round in the Monday’s club, I played the guy who also was at the top of our section. My opponent’s choice to play English Opening was unexpected. A few years ago I would reply with Anglo-Gruenfeld, but I didn’t remember the lines, so played e5. I probably gave him too much space on the queenside, 13… Na5 wasn’t the best move, Nd8 was better.

23… g5 seemed risky to me, but I didn’t want him to have the “e” vertical after 23… f4. Computer suggests playing 33… a4 with the following a6 instead of 33… Qf6, with the idea of opening a “b” line for my rook.

Soon I got worse, also low on time and made a crucial mistake by playing 42… gxf4. I missed that he can take with a knight, creating a threat of fork on e6. Though I flagged in a few moves, it was completely lost.




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