chess tactics

It was a last round of Monday’s tournament. My opponent was an old guy, I had =1, -1 score with him. I got White and he played Sicilian. I played Rossolimo variation, but in this case the game looked more like Open Sicilian.

On move 21 I thought what to choose – Rxf3 or gxf3 and decided that if he exchanges on e5, then with the pawn on f3 e5 will be not isolated. On move 36 I had a choice of playing b5 or transferring into a bishop endgame, which I somehow considered better for him because of his possible activity on the kingside, but it was a draw.

Instead of 39… Bc7 the best was Rh7 with an equal play. After I won a pawn my next move was a huge mistake. 43… Rh2 with following Ra2 and a threat of mate on d2 was winning. This motif repeated later, that explains the title of my post.

45. f4 was again a game losing mistake, Rg2 was drawing, but I didn’t see the threat, he the same. I had 6 minutes left, he about 30. I considered b6, but thought that it is risky and decided to implicitly offer a draw repeating the moves. He did it for while, but then suddenly played Rh2. Now I saw the mate threat, but realized that I can’t do anything about it. I spent some time looking for improbable escape and then saw the I flagged.


It was a second round and I got paired with a 1951 rated boy, never played him before. I got Black and responded to his 1. c4 with Semi-Slav. As soon as he played 10. a3 I knew that I have play c5, otherwise my bishop will be “bad”, I had it before. Soon I realized that he didn’t have pretenses to get an opening advantage, it calmed me down.

After 20 moves I noticed that there was a possibility of sacrifice on e3, but to my disappointment he played Bf3 and that from my point of view prevented the sacrifice. The thing is the line I would play – let’s say 21. Bd3 Ndxe3 22. fxe3 Nxe3 wasn’t giving me much advantage, the right move was 22… Bg5 with about -2.5. The same sacrifice was still playable after Bf3, but with a lesser effect.

Then he made a mistake by playing 33. Qc8. He could still hold it, probably, but then 37. Qxb5 was a crucial mistake. Instead of 38. Bc5 he had to give up the bishop and play Qf1. But instead of playing 38… Qb1+ 39. Qf1 Bh2+ 40. Kf2 Qc2+ 41. Qe2 Bg3+ 42. Kf3 e4+ with a win, I let him go with 38… Qf5.

I expected him to play 39. Qe2, which by the way was losing the same way as in the line above, but suddenly he played Qf1. The saving move was 39. e4, it was leading to a draw.

After winning the queen the game was over, he resigned one move before getting mated.

It was a last round, my opponent was an old guy rated 1922, I had =1, -1 with him in the past. I got White and he played Owen’s defense. I had a difficult choice on move 10 and eventually decided to trade queens. I didn’t expect his Ke7 and the best in this situation was to keep queens by playing Qe2. 13. b4 wasn’t a good move, I didn’t realize I am weakening my position.

Soon I started to feel under pressure and on move 28 decided to sacrifice a pawn. It actually worked and I got real drawing chances, but then I made a big mistake playing 40. Ke3. I thought that my king should be closer to his “c” pawn, but much more important was blocking his pawns.

I considered playing 41. f4, but  realized that it will lose because his pawns would be too far one from another. The position continued to deteriorate and I had only a few minutes left. Still I missed an excellent chance that he gave me by playing 47. Ke2. There was a nice combination – 48. b7 Bxb7 49. Bxe4 Bc8 50. Kc2 Bd7 51. Kxc3 Bxa4 52. Bxf3+ Kxf3 53. Kb2 Kxf2 with  a draw.

Interesting that couple of days after the game he sent me a message via Facebook and pointed to this opportunity as well as to the missed draw after 40. Ke3.

I played this game two weeks ago. My opponent was a young guy, I played him once before and won. We got Slav Exchange, we were equal until I missed a combination 16… Nxb2 17. Rxb2 Bxa3 with a 0.5 advantage.

I considered 20… Nxa3, but decided not to take it, in any case computer considers it equal. Then after his 28. Qg4 I got better. I made a mistake playing 30… Qf7 instead of 30… fxg5 with advantage and noticed 31. g6! right away. I even thought I could lose, but it is a draw. Taking on f4 I foresaw my queen’s return to h6 after check. Of course it was a bad idea for him to exchange his knight for my bishop.

Then he got into a time trouble and made a serious mistake by playing 37. Kh3, 37… Qf5 was winning on the spot. Anyway soon he made another mistake – 39. Qd6 which was decisive.

It was a new opponent and I got Black. I chose Semi-Slav, the opening went well and I was comfortable with the placing of my pieces. I lost that feeling after 15. h3, seeing f4, f5 threat. I thought that I don’t want to think about it all the time and played Bf5. Computer suggests 15… Nc4, I considered it, but didn’t like spoiling my pawn structure. But after 16… Bd3 White is -1.22. Still I knew that I have good chances on the kingside.

On move 21 I missed d4! and then 22. exd4 Nf3+! winning exchange, because it’s mate after 23. Bxf3 Qxe1 24. Rxe1. Then I saw a rook sacrifice and after some checking went for it. Then I saw another strike – 27. d4.  I considered 28… Nh4+, computer prefers it, but played Nxg3.

Computer found another combination – 30. c2 with a win, I didn’t see it. Then I made a mistake playing 31… Ne4. Still I was better and his 34. Rdxf7 was a crucial mistake. He couldn’t take with the other rook, it was losing, but 34. Bc1 was keeping him alive, at least for some time. I saw 34… Bf6 right away. After move 36 I knew that the game was over, it became technical.


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.


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