chess tactics


It means through difficulty to heights, thought it suits. I just participated in a big tournament and for a first time in my life shared a first place, it happened before only in the club tournaments. It was a traditional tournament that was organized during the reading week at the university. After disappointing start of the year I decided to start from scratch.  It was 6 rounds, 90 minutes, 30 seconds increment, I registered in U1900 section.

Saturday. I come early, meet several people that I know and have a nice talk.

Round 1. Interestingly, my opponent is the same girl I played in the 2nd round of the big tournament before New Year. She gets White again and plays the same Exchange Variation of Ruy Lopez. I choose my favorite Bronstein variation. It is OK until move 12, then I castle queenside and it is not a good move. Computer suggests c5 with queens exchange and then castling queenside. Then after my 14… Qe7, Houdini says there is a knight sacrifice on a5. Black has to take, in a few moves White gets the bishop on d7, wins a pawn and is ~2.5.

I frankly don’t see it at all, she too. She has the same opportunity on move 16, misses it again, so I win the “e4” pawn. I find a nice spot for my light-colored bishop on b5, another one goes to d6 and I feel good finally. Then suddenly she makes a wrong sacrifice, I realize it right away. I try to play accurately, put my pieces on the right places and do not give any chances. Eventually my passed “a” pawn queens, she still plays until there is a mate on the board. I have 3.5 hours until the next round, get some rest and even have a nap.

Round 2.  I have White and play Ruy Lopez, he chooses Chigorin Variation.  I close the center and try to organize an attack on the kingside, he defends. Computer says I could play a4 on move 18, 3 moves earlier with +0.7 evaluation. Then we shift to the queenside. After playing 29. b4 I see that I missed his 30… b4, but then calm down seeing 33. Ba2. When we get there I see that I also have 33. Bc2.

After 33… Rb2 he offers a draw. I feel somewhat tired, also remember that getting 2 out of 2 in the last 2 big tournaments didn’t do me any good, as I lost in the 3rd round both times. I make a pause, then agree. Driving home I think that maybe I could use his d6 weakness, but also realize that my bishop is not too good. When I come home, Houdini’s evaluation is 0.00. I run 4 shootouts and they all end up in a draw.

Later in the evening I see the pairings, I got White, my opponent is the brother of that girl I lost to in the Mondays club. He played less tournaments and his rating is lower, still it is 1770 FIDE. I can’t find any of his games and it makes me a bit nervous.

Sunday. I come early again and enjoy conversation with the guys I know.

Round 3. The boy starts with 1. d4 and I play Queen’s Indian Accelerated. I want to release pressure caused by his bishop on g5 and play 6… Ne4. Then after his 9. Bd3 I see that I have nothing on the kingside, find 9… Qb4+ and decide to try my chances in the endgame. We both play accurately and it looks equal. I put a last trap playing 26… Nc5, hoping that he might take the knight. I see that it loses after 27. Nxc5 Kxc5 28. Kd3 Kb4 29. Kc2 Ka3 30. a4. But he doesn’t bite and plays 27. Kd2. After my 28… Kc6 he offers a draw, I accept.

The future sequence of events proves that I made a right decision. Also the position was just 0.12 in my favor. I can some rest, some time before the start I learn the name of my opponent. It is a familiar player, a man I have 1.5:0.5 score with, with Black he plays French.

Round 4. French it is, I play my Tarrasch, we get closed variation. I decide to play 4. f4, it recently brought me success. After I play 12. Bh3 I think maybe he could take on e5, but decide to wait for his reply. He doesn’t see 12… fxe5 13. Bxe6+ Kh8 14. 0-0 exd4 15. Kh1 d3 with -1.5. Then his 15… Bd7 misses a strike on d5. I press, but it looks like he is able to block e5 pawn and hold on.

Then I get an idea of playing g4 and putting my queen on f5. It is a good idea, but instead of the actual 34. Qf5 there is Qf3 winning d5 pawn. He defends, he is also in a time trouble. His 36… Qd6 is a decisive mistake, I see Rxf8+ and play it, he resigns.

It was a third round in Mondays club and I got an old foe, +1,=2 with Black and -2 with White, funny. So luckily I had Black. We played the same line of Queen’s Indian Accelerated as 3 years ago. We had an equal position after the first 15 moves, then he made a mistake playing 16. a3.  I considered 16… Ne5 seeing that his knight is under double attack, but thought that he can jump like Nxe6 leaving my knight under attack too. I didn’t see that his Nd2 was hanging too. So the only choice for him would be to play 17. N4f3 with 17… Nxf3 18. Nxf3 Nxe4 following.

So I played 16… Qe7 planning to exchange my bishop to his knight and untangle my pieces. Then he went for exchanges, that gave me an idea that he wants a draw. I was OK with that I as didn’t think that I am in a great shape and believed that the arisen position was a draw. But he looked determined and continued to play. I was holding on and then he played 40. f5 that looked suspicious to me. Then he made a mistake playing 41. Bxd6. I missed an intermediate check 41… f4+! which after 42. gxf4 Kxd6 43. fxe5+ fxe5 would give me -3 advantage as his bishop would be simply bad.

We got an equal position, but he still wanted to win and played 46. g5, probably counting on something like 46… hxg5 47. hxg5 fxg5 48. Kg5 which would still be a draw by the way. But he missed an intermediate check 46… Bd5+, after which he is lost. I rightly took his pawn with my “f” pawn, not with the “h” one, that would be a draw, I just didn’t want to give him the “h” passed pawn.

On move 49 my Bf7 gave him a chance for a draw, he had to play Ke4 and then Kf5, but he didn’t see that. I was scared of 50. Bg6, but didn’t realize that after 49… Kd6 50. Bg6 Ke6 51. f7 my king gets to e7. After I took on f6 he played two more moves and resigned.

 

It was a first round in Wednesdays club. I got a #1 rated guy, my Russian-speaking acquaintance expert, he had White. He played London system, which soon became Queen’s Indian Accelerated. After 13 moves I got a position with hanging pawns.

After the game at the post-mortem there were a few people and one of them suggested 14… Nc6 instead of Nd7. His slow 17. Nf1 returned the favor and it was equal after the bishops exchange. You are supposed to play d4, but I don’t know if there was a moment to do that. On move 21 he forced c4 and here I think my inexperience with such positions showed.  I decided that since I moved the pawn I am worse. But computer doesn’t think so and Nimzowitsch in his “My System” gave an example when c4 can be alright, unfortunately I read it only after the game.

In fact 4 shootouts ran from that point ended up +1, =3 for Black.  I also read that you can create pressure on b2 pawn and I didn’t realize that, otherwise I would play 24… Rxc8  25. Rd4 Rb8. I didn’t find 26… Rd7 and after b3 was left with an isolated pawn. My 29… Qe6 was a mistake, maybe I already started to feel the time pressure. I knew that I would lose the “d” pawn and instead of calmly defending I went va banque and played g5, that was not reasonable of course.

He exchanged the queens and here I got my hopes up thinking maybe I can save 2 rooks ending. Computer says I had to play Rxa3, not Rf6, but shootouts say Rf6 was the move. At that moment I had maybe 15-20 seconds left, that’s why my next move 42… Rff4 was a decisive mistake, I had to play Re6. After his check I saw e6 coming after Kg7 or f6, but 43… Kf5 got me into a mating net after 44. Re7. Not finding defense I simply flagged.

 

This is a post #400, kind of a milestone. I am glad I am not posting my loss. 🙂

My opponent was an old guy, old foe. He played French and chose open variation in Tarrasch. He played it two times before and we drew both times, but this time he played 4…Qxd5…, not 4… exd5. After Qd6 I almost automatically played Qe2 to defend my bishop in case of Nb3 Qb4+. Also this move is played in 4… exd5 line, but here you usually play O-O. Still it is a second choice with even better stats.

My 17. Ne5 created a threat of Nxf7, he saw it and played Ne4. Then his 23… e5 gave me a tactical chance and I played Rd5. On move 27 I didn’t like Nd3 because of Rd8, so reluctantly played f4. Actually Nd3 was the best move. The 29. Bxe4 was a result of delusion, I thought that I can win g5 pawn, forgetting that my knight will hang. I thought later that it was a bad move, but I was still better and only after 30. g3 it became equal. The right move was 30.  h4. Then I made another weak move, sacrificing the pawn because I thought that I am worse and need counterplay.

After the queens exchange I started to feel like I am balancing on a tightrope. Only after 42. Nc3+ I finally felt that I am out of danger and even better. 45. Kf3 was a mistake, Kd3 was eventually giving me 2 passed pawns vs. his “h” pawn. After several more moves the game was drawn.

It was a first round in the Mondays club. My opponent was a girl, new member, she had FIDE rating 1857, played in some tournaments in SouthEast Asia. I had White, the game started as Caro-Kann, Fantasy variation, but quickly transformed into French, Winawer. It was an unusual for me position, but I found the right moves.

She tried to create a pressure on my queenside pawns and I started to attack on the kingside by 15. Ng5. Her 15… Bd7 reply was bad. I missed 16. f5 followed by e6. I think I looked a bit at it, but didn’t see that after 16. f5 exf5 17. e6 Bxe6 I had Bh5 with +3 advantage. My 16. Bh5 still allowed f5, but I didn’t see it as well. After my 17. Bf3 the game became equal.

I thought that taking her knight on f5 with “g” vertical opening could be risky, it was a wrong evaluation. So the position started to annoy me, I didn’t want to get a draw out of it and considered taking on d5. I saw that after 22. Nxd5 exd5 23. Bxd5 Rb8 I can play 24. e6 with 24… Bxe6 25. Bxe6 fxe6 26. Qxe6+. This sacrifice was not sound, but she had to take on e6 with the pawn, 24… fxe6 25. Bxe6 Kf8 with -1.8 evaluation.

After she took on e6 with the bishop the position would become equal after 25. Bxe6 Fxe6 26. Qxe6 Qe7 27. Qxg6 Qf7 28. Rfe1+ Kf8 29. Qxf7 Kxf7. She said after the game that she would play 26… Ne7, not 26… Qe7. That would actually give me ~1.6 advantage after 27. Rae1. But in the game I didn’t like exactly 26… Ne7 move, thinking that it would defend g6. So after 25… fxe6 I decided to improve my line with 26. Qe5 thinking that it will force her rook to move and then I will take on e6.

To my big surprise she just moved her king to f7 and I realized that I am in a big trouble. Computer evaluates it as -3.3 and the game was basically over after that. My 29. g4 only put more oil into the fire. She played good moves, I couldn’t do anything and in a completely lost position I resigned.

This quote belongs to Johannes Zukertort, it suits well to describe the recent events. The big tournament was coming and I wanted to play, but wasn’t sure that I will be able to play, I had too much work. I didn’t even register, but on Friday it calmed down and I was able to leave my work earlier because the first round was at 6pm and I still had to register.

Friday. Round 1 – my opponent is a guy, with whom I played a year ago and drew, the thing is his rating was 1043 and mine – 1718, so it was like a loss for me and I was very upset. He plays Sicilian and I play Moscow variation. His 11… Ne5 surprises me, computer recommends g5 with ~-0.4 evaluation. After his 15… Nxg3 computer suggests a little trick, Qg4 and then taking with a queen on g3, but to me fxg3 looks fine.

After 20 moves he decides to play on both sides of the board. I defend on the queenside and think that I have advantage on the kingside. On move 28 I don’t like what is going on on the queenside and play restrictive c4. Computer recommends Nd2, I agree, the knight has nice squares to jump then. I do that a move later. Then something interesting happens.

He plays Qh5, releases the queen and then suddenly takes it back. I firmly say: “You made the move”. He puts it on h5, then I start to think why he wanted to take it back. So I see 30. Ne4 and 31. Ng3. I play Ne4, then see, that he has 30… Rxf3 and 31. Nxd6 doesn’t work because of Rf5.

He thinks for some time and plays 30… Bc7, a game losing move. By the way Rf5 wouldn’t work because of g4, but Rf4 would save him. So I fork him and he makes another mistake playing 31… e4. I take his queen and in two moves the game is over.

Saturday. Round 2 – my opponent is a girl, I get Black. She plays Ruy Lopez, Exchange. I play, of course, Bronstein variation.  My  13… g5 misses Bd4. I am in a bit of a shock, then realize that Rxd4 gives me a pretty playable position. She manages to force the exchange of one of the bishops, I feel that dark-colored is stronger, proves later to be a right decision. Then my attack on the kingside starts to develop quickly.

I see 29… Bxg3, but it doesn’t look decisive to me and I am down a rook. Computer says it would give me eventually a queen and 2 pawns for two rooks. So, I play Bc5+ and then 30… Qxg3. suddenly she plays Qd8+. Again after an initial shock I see that I have an excellent bishop and at least a draw.

So I have a simple plan – hold on the kingside and use my pawn majority on the queenside and execution goes pretty smoothly. Eventually I get two passed pawns on the queenside. Her 55. Rg2 is a decisive mistake, I play c2+. In a few moves she resigns.

Round 3 – my opponent is a man whom I played in the summer of 2010, in the equal position he blundered a queen. I get Black again, not too happy about it. We play Queen’s pawn, which transforms into Queen’s Indian. I think that I can meet his 12. Ng5 with Qe7, but his 13. d5 comes as a surprise. I think I am in trouble and look for an escape. But computer doesn’t like his 12. Ng5 as well as his 13. d5. For some reason I don’t see 13… exd5 14. Bxf5 Nc5 15. cxd5 Nxd5 with ~-0.8. His 14. dxe6 is another not a good move, but I had to play h6, that would give me an advantage.

It is not necessary to give up the f5 pawn, but I am still OK. 23… c5 is a big mistake, I had to play a5. I have that bad idea about my knight going to e5. His attack naturally develops and I am in a big trouble. After 30 moves I am basically lost, but the queens exchange gives me a chance to survive. A long battle ensues where the evaluation varies from 0.5 to 3.5.

There is a nice forced line that I do not see – 72… Nf6 (threatening mate in 2) 73. Rf8+ Kxf8 74. d7+ Kf7 75. d8Q Ne4+ 76. Kh5 Rh2+ 77. Qh4 Ng3+ 78. Kg5 Ne4+ 79. Kh5 with a draw. I play on increment and just try to survive, but in a few moves I miss a bishop fork and resign. Someone tells me after the game, that I still could save my pieces and shows how. My moves in my scoresheet after move 74 don’t add up, it was 83 moves in total.

I ask TD if I can get a half-point bye for the 4th round, he says no, only zero point bye. The reason I ask is that I need to work from 11pm into night, not even clear for how long. I can predict my state next day, but also I don’t want to get nothing. So I decide to play next morning. I do my work, it goes until 2:30am, then go to sleep. In the morning I am more or less OK after a coffee, also take coffee with me.

Sunday. Round 4 – I get an unrated guy, he has 1600+ performance rating. He plays Sicilian e6, it goes off the book soon.  I have to play 11. d4, but it seems not clear to me, so I avoid it, taking into account my state, more coffee keeps me on board. Starting from move 16 he tries to counterattack, but I feel that my position is quite defendable. His e5 goes too far, I feel it and play Bd5+. His 23. Kh8 is a big mistake. I see Bxh6, but I also see Bxf2+ and give up on it.

Computer says Bxh6 is winning, taking on f2 with a check doesn’t change it. I don’t know how much of my miss I can attribute to my state and how much to my negligence, but the win was right there. His 24… exd4 instead of cxd4 still leaves me with  some advantage. But I don’t find 27. Be6 and after 28. Qe2 it becomes equal. On move 35 he offers a draw and I accept.

The boy is friendly, he talks to me after the game. He is from Singapore, visiting his relatives. He says that he has a FIDE rating ~1450, which should go up after the local tournament and also after this one, counts how many points he would get for this draw too, this is funny. I think that I value half a point that I still got more than a loss of a few rating points, time shows I am right.

I get some sleep in the armchair and feel better.

Round 5 my opponent is a young man from another city. I recognize him, he played with our Mondays club TD in the 2nd round, they were playing near me. At one moment he complained to the current TD about our guy, at that moment our guy was not at the board and was down a rook. So, he has 2 wins and last 2 games were draws. For some reason I decide that he would be OK with a draw.

I have Black, he plays Italian Game. The play is positional and it goes around f5 square for his knight. I have to say that during the whole game he adjusts pieces almost after every move. It annoys me, but not to the degree going to TD and complaining, I know were my concentration will be after that. At one moment I try to counterattack in the center. Eventually we are left with Q+R each, it looks drawn to me.

We have 6-7 minutes each and play on increment. He tries to regroup his pieces to attack using 8th horizontal, I hold on. Suddenly he blunders a rook and resigns in a few moves. I tell him that earlier I would accept a draw. On Monday I come to the club and find out that our guy blundered a rook in that game and lost eventually. The complaint was about him having his cell in his hand, the cell was off of course. I tell him that he would be the last person that I would suspect. My opponent was adjusting pieces in his game too. So, I tell him how my game went, I know he will feel vindicated and yes, he smiles and thanks me for telling that. Also looking at the final results I see that 3 people shared 2nd place with 4/5. I realize that my opponent was fighting for the 2nd place meaning prize money, as he had 3/4.

It was a last round in the Mondays club.  My opponent was a TD, I played him before, our score was 3.5:1.5. I had White, it started as Sicilian, but quickly became Old Benoni. I tried to create pressure on his d6 pawn, computer doesn’t like his Qb6 offering 7… a6 8. Bd3 Ngf6 9. Bxd6 Nxd5 as being equal. The goal of 17. Ng5 was to attack f7, Houdini says 17… Ne5 was better than Bf8.

I thought that I missed 27… f5 28. Nc3 g5 winning a piece for Black, but told him after the game that I would have advantage and yes, I would have ~+3. Then 29. f5 weakened his king’s cover. 32… Nf6 and 33… Kxg6 were crucial mistakes. On move 34 I saw Re6 sacrifice. I considered 36. Nxf5 at that moment, but after his 36… Qc6 decided on Qxf5. By the way 36. Nxf5 was a mate in 6 and 36. Qxf5 mate in 13. In a few moves he resigned.

Next Page »