chess tactics

It was penultimate round, my opponent was a guy rated 1550. I played him 3 months ago, he blundered in a position where I was worse. He had White again and played Ruy Lopez. I started to feel comfortable after his 20. b4.  I spent quite some time calculating 25… exf4 with an idea to play 26… Nxb4 and 27… Qc5+ and played it. Then I noticed 28. Rd4 defense and changed my plans playing 26… Ne5.

After some exchanges the position remained equal, but then he made a big mistake playing 33. h4. I decided to play 33… Nf6 also setting a little trap and he got into it. He had to play 36. Rf1, his Qg5 was another mistake, computer evaluates the position as ~ -10.  The intention of 37… Qc6 was to get to c8-h3 diagonal. After 38. d4 it looked bad for him as he couldn’t avoid the double check.

So, I played that double check and it looked like there is a mate on h3. He still continued to play, moved his king to h2. So, I played Qh3, wrote it down putting a mate sign after the move and waited for him to resign. Strangely he was not in a hurry, then he suddenly took my queen with a pawn. Only at this moment I realized that there was a pawn on g2. I didn’t see it at all because it was behind of the knight on g3. I reevaluated the situation and resigned.

I can’t even describe how bad I felt afterwards, even on the next day. Later I checked it on the board, you can actually see some kind of halo around the knight. I was stressed that day and definitely didn’t see that.

It was a last round in the top section at the new club. I was sharing a first place with 3.5/4 with a boy rated 1767 that played quite a few years in the USA and then it looks like he moved to Canada this summer. I thought if I need to play at all, as I had a lot to lose from the ratings point of view, even a draw would give me about 30 points less, due to a decrease of the performance rating and getting accordingly less bonus rating points.

But I wanted the first place and also a clean tournament, so I came to play. He got Black and played Pirc Defense, I hate to play against it, because it often gets murky. That’s what happened this time too. After he delayed fianchettoing of his bishop, I played Bh6 and left him without a kingside castle when his rook took on f8. As he advanced his queenside pawns, the queenside castle didn’t look well either.

The thing is, I got a similar problem, on the queenside I would get under attack and on the kingside he also played h5 and his rook was ready. My move Kf7 is criticized by the computer and I ended up with an artificial castle. On the queenside I lost a pawn, missing a couple of counter-strikes. First of them was 21. Qd4 Qc5 22. Nxb5, second – 24. Nxb5. Then I regrouped my pieces and started an attack on his king. My big mistake was advancing “f” pawn instead of “e” one, i.e. f5 instead of e5.

Computer doesn’t like 31. Nxf5 evaluating it as -1.65 and says that exf5 is equal. On move 33 I considered Rxf5, but then saw his knight’s strike on e4. I didn’t see how I could continue my attack after sacrificing an exchange. But 33… Nxe4 after 33. Rxf5 is a mistake because of 34. Nxe4 Rxf5 35. Qh6+ Ke8 36. Nf6+! Rxf6 27. Qxh6. Then my position started to deteriorate, I also got into a time trouble. My exhaustion after previous day, when I slept 5.5 hours and worked 10 kicked in, I started to lose pawns.

We ended up in a queen endgame that was lost for me, I was playing it on increment having less than a minute. After he managed to force the queens exchange I resigned. I was really upset after that game, but eventually calmed down. I still got a second place thanks to the best performance rating which was 2009 – my best in the last 4 years. The second place was also the highest result in the top section ever. My rating went up to 1760, so I will be able to play in the top section in another club too.

The first post on this subject was 5 months ago, I said then that I started to understand the ideas. So, here we come, fourth round, I am having Black against the boy who just became the club champion (in top section). I played a rapid game against him a month ago and lost after making a bad move, almost blunder, it was Scotch gambit, Dubois-Reti defense. So no surprise he played it again.

After he played 11. Nc3 I just took the knight, I think I had a delusion that if I take on e5 he can play Nxc6 and Bxc5. After the first 12 moves he started to spend a lot of time on every move and it looked like he wasn’t very confident. Computer prefers 15… Rad8 to my c6. I predicted his 16. Ng5 and played g6 right away. I expected f5 too, of course I realized that he intends to sacrifice the exchange. I calculated the line 17… Bxf5 18. Rxf5 gxf5 19. Qxf5 and saw that I have 19… f6. Still the arising position looked a bit murky to me, so I decided to take on f5 under the better circumstances. Computer still evaluates my line as ~-3.

I remembered that in one of the analyses Black played c4 and saw that here it can push the queen to the worse position and also force exchange of the bishops. As soon as I played it, I realized that I can win the knight on g5 no matter where the queen goes. He played Qe2 after some thinking and I took on g5 almost right away. It looked like he didn’t expect it. He spent a bit of time and resigned, looking visibly upset. Nevertheless to say that I was very happy.

My opponent was an old guy, I played him in 2013 and 2016 and won. He chose French, Rubinstein variation. After the opening the game started to look drawish and it worried me. I was looking for the way to get advantage, but didn’t see a clear one. Then he played 21… Qe7, computer doesn’t quite like it, evaluating the position after 22. Na5 as ~0.7.

When I played 22. Nd4 I remember that at that moment I thought that it would be nice to play 22. Bf4 and then 33. Bd6 with a skewer, but after 22… Rd8 he would  have d6 square under control. Then after exchange he suddenly played Kh7. I saw a queen check giving me that control and played it. Before I played 25. Bf4 I noticed that he has 25… e5 and prepared Rxe5. Computer thinks it’s even worse for Black than losing an exchange. He preferred to resign right away.

It was a first round and I got the same guy I played with a week before and lost. He played English Opening, my 1… Nf6 made it Anglo-Indian Defense. After his 5. Nc3 I took on c3, it is a 3rd choice move, the 1st one is Nb6. Computer thinks that he could get advantage after 13. e4.  On move 16 I started to feel comfortable, my goal was to prevent e4.

21. e3 was a mistake, computer evaluates it as -0.91 preferring Bf4. 24. Qc2 was of course a serious mistake, I found Nb3. It seemed me he had Qd3, but then I saw Bc4. On move 27 he allowed another combination, the exchange one, which I thought would be in my favor, computer confirms that.

On move 31 he made a final mistake and on the next move resigned. Needless to say that I was happy to get a revenge.

That’s what was in my mind when the first round of a new tournament was starting. Finally after 10 month break I am playing with the high rated opponents, in the top section. I got a boy rated 1813 and had White. After first 10 moves in Ruy Lopez I got a feeling that he is not very familiar with the theory. Computer prefers d5 to my 14. a4. His 14… Qb6 was a mistake, I played Be3 almost right away. I started to consider Nd5 around that time, but never played it, computer wants me to play it on move 16.

One of the critical moments of the game came after he played 20… b4. I couldn’t resist from playing 21. Bxf6 intending to take on h7 then. I soon realized that my attack is not as dangerous as I thought, computer considers the position equal. Then after his 26… d5 I had 27. Nc5 Bc6 28. Bd7 Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Bxd7 30. Nxd7+ Ke8 with advantage, but I didn’t see it.

Then on move 28 he made a crucial mistake by playing Nf6. 33. Rc1+ was winning on the spot, I didn’t notice that he doesn’t have Bc6 defense because the rook on a8 would lose the defender. He was very low on time, 10-15 seconds left, I had about a minute. When I took on f6 I saw that he probably has a perpetual, but I didn’t have time to find something else. Fortunately I found that I have Kf2 and Re2 defense.

When I hid my king on g3 I started to breath easier. Then he took his rook and trying to find a place for it, put it on c8. He exclaimed something, it is funny that people do that when they blunder, attracting attention.


My opponent was a young man, I won a few times with White against him, this time I had Black. The game started as a Reti Opening, but then transformed into King’s Indian Attack. My bishop would be better located on e7. His 10. h4 was weird and 12. Ng5 was a mistake.

Computer recommends 13… Bc5 with the following 14. Nb3 Bxf2+ 15. Rxf2 Nxf2 16. Qxd8 Raxd8 17. Kxf2 h6 18. Nf3 Ng4+ 19. Ke1 Rd3 with a strong attack. I considered sacrifice on f2 then and later, but couldn’t see that far. 16. Qb3 wasn’t a good idea. After 18… Ne6 I felt that I have a serious advantage. Then I saw a sacrifice on e4 and played it. He looked surprised and after some thinking suddenly played Bxd4. After I took on d4 he resigned.

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