chess tactics

This quote belongs to Emmanuel Lasker. My opponent in this last round was a guy rated 1502. He had 6 years break and was just playing for a few months, his old rating was ~1800, I beat him in 2011. So we got French, Tarrasch closed. The book says 11. Nf4 was the best move.

On move 16 I saw a possibility of Bxh7+ sacrifice and played it. 19… Rh6 was a serious mistake. 20. Qe8 looked risky, but I calculated that my queen will not be caught. Then 21. Re1 looked like the right move, I didn’t see how he can defend his e6 pawn. That was a moment when I think my bad shape started to show up. Not only I missed that he can force the exchange of the queens, but I didn’t see Ba3, the decisive move. I was so much concentrated on the kingside and forgot about the queenside. So the only move after 21. Ba3 was 21… Qf4 and I had to find 22. h4!.

After 22… Rxh4 23. Nxe6 Bxe6 24. Qxa8 Black is lost, 22… Rb3 23. Nh5 Bd7 24. Qxd7 Rxh5 25. Bxf8 Rxf8 26. Qxe6 White is +3.50. So I missed that opportunity and the game continued without queens. Then after 26… Rh4 I didn’t play 27. Rc7 Bc6 28. Rxe6, I saw only Bc6 locking my rook. 32. h3 Re4 33. Ng4 Bh4 34. g3 Bg5 was keeping the game equal.  My 32. Bc3 and 33. Rdc1 were not good, 33. Ra1 could save the day.

Then he also didn’t play exactly, my taking on b7 was right, even I thought later that it was a mistake. 38. Rc7 was a bad move, 38. h4 was equal. Soon my position deteriorated and I lost.


It was Thursday’s club, my opponent was a boy rated 1443. He played an Italian Game, the line that I played about a dozen times.

15… Bd5 was a move that I liked, also it was provoking 16. Nc5 and I calculated the consequences of that. He played it and then made a mistake. 20… f5 seemed a bit sharp, but I didn’t like that bishop and it is actually a computer move. 24… Ng6 was giving me a decisive advantage, I played it 2 moves later.

On move 29 I missed a possibility to counterattack with 29… Nh4 30. Qd3 Qf7 31. Kf1 Qg6, I was probably still concentrated on defense. 33. Qxf5 was a crucial mistake, after 34… Nh4+ he resigned.

It was a 4th round in Mondays club and unexpectedly (they did a manual pairing due to the problem with the computer) I got the same girl as on last Thursday, but with Black. I lost to her on Thursday with White because of my bad shape, underestimation, positional mistakes and relying on her time trouble. I have to say that we both learned our lesson, she was spending time much more reasonably and I was more careful.

Another surprise was her Scotch Gambit. Anyway I decided to go the same way as I did 2 months ago, when I had chances in a similar line. So I played the same stopping 14… f5, but then spent some time choosing between 15… fxe4 or dxe4, the first one looked more solid. I considered 19… g5, but didn’t like 20. Qg3. Would you believe that computer recommends that move with -0.35 estimate after 19… g5 20. Qg3 Bxe3 21. Qxe3 Rb8 ? After 21… gxf4 22. Rxf4 Rxf4 23. Qxf4 it is 0.00.

Then I made my only mistake in that game playing 24… Ba5, after 25. Nxa5 Rxa5 26. Bc5 Ba6 27. Rfb1 Bd3 28. Bxf8 Bxb1 29. Bxg7 Kxg7 30. Qh4 with  Rb7, Qf6 threats White is about +2.  But this line looks a bit above my paygrade. Anyway in a few moves we reached some kind of a dynamical balance. Then I saw 30… c5 with the idea of 31… d4, but it looked messy and unpredictable and it actually was, with about +0.3 estimate. The right move after 30… c5 31. Rdd1 was 31… Rxa4 32. Qb2 Rb8 33. Qc1 h6 with equal position.

Frankly I felt tired, there was not much time left, my 12 minutes vs. her 7, so I started to to think about a draw, but didn’t want my offer to be refused. Suddenly she offered a draw and I accepted. She actually offered it a few moves before, but in a such a low voice that I didn’t understand what she said.

My opponent in that round was as expected a high school boy to whom I lost 5 months ago when he swindled the game. In this game I had Black, he played Giuoco Piano.  I was surprised when he took on d5 by the pawn and definitely liked my position after a dozen of moves.

He told me after the game that he thought about 17. f4, but couldn’t make it working and it doesn’t. Soon I got a pretty clear idea how to attack on the kingside. As it showed later, his queen’s placement was wrong, f2 square belonged to the rook.

On move 23 while planning Rg3 I suddenly realized that I already can sacrifice my bishop on h3, but after some thinking decided that it would only give me material advantage, while Rg3 had some chances for a mate. In reality it had the same aftermath.

So after 24. Qg1 I saw that I am winning his queen and played Bxh3. Then I played carefully trying not to give him any chances and to increase my advantage as well. After 38 moves the position looked like I have a clear win, in a few moves he resigned.

I told him after the game about the different roles that our light-squared bishops played and he agreed.

It was Monday’s club, my opponent was my old nemesis, I think my score with him was 1.5:2.5. He chose Modern Defense, I knew he plays it.

In the opening he advanced his pawns on both flanks and I strengthened the center. Then on move 19 computer suggests I missed e5, with 2.43 evaluation. So here is this nice line -19. e5 dxe5 20. fxe5 Nxe5  21. Rxf6  Kxf6 22. Rxe5. If 22… Kxe5 then mate, if 22… Rxe5 then 23. Qf2 winning the queen and if 22… Kg7 then 23. Nf5.

21. Nd5 was a mistake, but the right move for Black was not 22… Ne4, but 22… cxb4 23. Qxb4 Rxe1 24. Nxe1 Qc5. After 22… Ne4 I was in a shock and got desperate. I calculated rightly that after 24. Ne5 I would be worse and chose Ng5. Interesting that computer evaluates it as 0.00.

Computer doesn’t like 26. Bh3 and recommends Ne6 with -0.6 estimate. Then I got that funny idea about exchanging my bishop and was actually about -3 after 28. f5, but only if he would play 28… cxb4. After 28… Qd8 it is equal. 30. Ne6 was not a good move, Qd3 was keeping the balance. But he decided, after some thought, to give back the exchange. I got energized after that and started to look for advantage. In a few moves I succeeded.

Computer thinks that 35… Qf7 would keep him alive with 1.8 estimate. After his 35… Qe2 I found 36. Kg1 to avoid a perpetual and the game was basically over, he resigned in a few moves.


It was a second round in Thursdays club. My opponent was a boy I beat about  a year ago with Black. I had White this time and played Ruy Lopez.

After the opening there was some maneuvering. Then he made a mistake by playing 21… Rc8. White could play 22. a4 bxa4 23. Bxa6 Nb8 24. Bxc8 Rxc8, otherwise the knight on c6 is lost due to the pin, but I didn’t see it. His 22… Re7 missed my 23. d5, then another mistake was 23… Nb8.

On move 28 I saw that I have a decisive advantage, but didn’t like 28. Qh6 because of 28… Rxf5 29. exf5 Nxd5. Computer says there was a mate in 9 after that with 30. Re4 Ne7 31. Rg4 Ng6 32. fxg6 fxg6 33. Bxg6 Qe7 34. Bf5 Kf7 35. Qxh7+ Ke8 36. Rg8+ Qf8 37. Re1+ Kd8 38. Rxf8#.

After 29. Qf2 he played expected Kh8, the next moves came naturally, in the end I had 6.5 minutes left. He resigned after  32. Ne7.

It was a 1st round in Mondays club, I got a guy rated about 1450. I played with my opponent 2 months ago and beat him in French, Fort Knox variation. This time I had White again and we repeated the opening. His 10… b5 looked suspicious, but I didn’t see a clear refutation, so just continued my development. Computer recommends 11. Neg5 Bxf3 12. Nxf3 c6 with +0.65 evaluation.

I saw 15. Nxf6+, but didn’t calculate properly the lines arising after 13. Nxf6+Bxf6 14. dxe5 Be7. Maybe I thought that after 15. Bxb5 Bxb5 16. Qxb5 he still has 16… Rb8, but White has 17. Qxa5 and if 17… Rxb2 then 18. Bc3 winning. The best for White here is 15. Qg4 Kh8 16. Qh3 g6 17. Bh6 Rg8 18. Bxb5 Qc8 with +1.3.

Then the position got simplified. After 21… Rd8 I saw that I have Qa8 after 22. Rxd8 Bxd8 and went for it. I got a feeling that he will play 23… Qd7 and calculated that after 2 checks my king goes to g3 and there is no check on g6 because of my bishop on g5. The bishop could be saved by 23… Qf6, but White was still better after 24. Qc6 Be7 25. Qxc7. So I won a piece after a few moves and when he exchanged the queens it became a matter of technique.



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