chess tactics

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.


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 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 was a last round in the Thursday’s tournament, I got White and my opponent was a young guy rated 1870, never played him before. So, he played Caro-Kann and I chose a most popular line. After 11 moves we had a theoretical position (I didn’t know about that) and c3 is considered a move preventing White to castle queenside, which would be not a bad idea considering what happened in the game.

After he played 17… g6 the best would be 18. Qf3. Then 19. Ng5 was also not a very good move, I wanted him to put a rook in a passive position defending f7 and forgot about Ne5. So, after 20 moves a had a feeling of some instability in my position. Then I just missed his 21… Nxf2.

Interesting that my 23. Nxh5 took him by surprise, he looked confused. Maybe it explains his 23… Nxh5, which was a mistake. But I already had a premove 24. Nxg4, played it quickly and didn’t notice the obvious Rxf7. But then he made another mistake playing 24…Qg3. As soon as he played it he offered a draw.

I agreed without thinking, knowing that I am worse. He even asked me: “Are you sure?”, I said: “Yes”. Actually he had only ~0.25 advantage after queens exchange, so it was not an error in judgement from his side, error was playing Qg3 instead of Ng3 which was keeping his advantage.

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 a round 4 in Monday’s club, my opponent was a boy. I had White and we played Ruy Lopez. He was playing very well until move 30. When I saw 30… Ne7, I realized that finally I can get an advantage. 32… Re6 was better that 32… Ree8 that he played. I had a choice between 33 Qg3 and 33. Bxh6 and eventually decided that Qg3 is simpler with about the same consequences for him, computer prefers Bxh6.

Then I sacrificed a knight on f7 and his position became really bad. After 37. Kf6 I saw Bg5+, but didn’t see the next move that led to mate – f4+!.  Another possibility to win, not so forced, was h4. But I was worried too much about Rh8 and played Qh4+.

I still had an attack going and missed 53. Rf1. By move 60 I had one minute left and even saw 60. Qg4, didn’t have time to evaluate it and chose a simple solution – to exchange queens and rooks. The arisen endgame was won for me and he resigned after he realized that.

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