chess


It was a first round, my opponent was a master with whom I played many games before. I had Black, our Queen’s Pawn quickly transposed into Semi-Slav.  As soon as he played 12. Nxe5 I remembered that we had a similar position before and if he plays 13. f4 I should play Bd4+ and then Ng4. That was computer’s suggestion after the game, I didn’t see it during it. We even discussed it next time we saw each other in the club. That was a game I played two months before, posted under “Missing chance” title.

It looked like he did not remember it until I played 14… Ng4. He went for a long think and unexpectedly played 15. h3, I thought he would play Qe1. Anyway, I spent probably more than 20 minutes after that, trying to see if the obvious Nf2+ was the best, it seemed me that computer then was suggesting 15… Qh4. I looked at it until I found 16. Bxb5, also the position just looked too complicated after Qh4. So I played 15… Nf2+, which was right, though 16. Bxb5 was losing after 16… Qg3, but after simple 16. Qf3 White was better than in the game.

After winning exchange very soon I realized that my opponent has a compensation for that. Computer thinks that immediate 17… Bb6 was a better move. I saw that nothing good will happen if I would play 21… Qe7, so I played Qh6. If 21… Qe7 then 22. Nf6+ with an advantage. Feeling under attack definitely affected me, so after he played 22. Bb4 I decided to give up a pawn to exchange one of his attacking pieces.

The threat of Be7 after 22… Rfd8 worried me, but there was nothing to worry about because if 23. Be7 then 23… Rxd3! 24. Qxd3 Qxf4 with -2 estimate. After he won a pawn the position became equal. Computer doesn’t like 26. Nxa6, but I had to play f5, the move that I considered a few times, but never played. Then I didn’t see 27… Bc8!, with 28. b3 Rxe4 29. Qxe4 Qxa6 and serious, -2 advantage.

After 42 moves we went into an endgame which was still equal. But it required an exact play. 47… Rd2 was winning both “g” pawns and Black king and rook still were able to stop “a” and “b” pawns. One more factor was a time, he actually was in a very serious time trouble, having less than 20 seconds and playing on 30 seconds increment. I also had a little time and it affected me more than him. Eventually I had to give up my rook and resigned.

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It was a first round, I got a young guy rated 1531. I had White, Ruy Lopez, he played Berlin defense. I decided to play simple and after a6 took on c6. I knew right away that Bg4 was a mistake.

I liked my position the after the opening. Then he played 20… g5, I thought that it is not a good move and replied by h4. Computer approves it, but then recommends 22. Kf2 with the following Rh1, it looks logical to me after h4. I kind of felt being forced to play 24. Bxg5, but later regretted it. The thing is I thought that I can’t defend e4 pawn and didn’t like exf5, letting the bishop on the open. Ironically that was the best move, 24. exf5, because after 24… Qxf5 25. Nc3 e4 I had 26. Rxe6! cxd6 27. f4 Qg6 28. fxg5 hxg5 29. Bxg5 with +1.2. 25… Qxc2 was not better after 26. Rc1 Qg6 27. Ne4 Be7 28. Bxg5 Bxg5 29. Nxg5 hxg5 30. Qxe5.

These lines would allow me to play comfortably for a win instead of what happened in the game. Anyway I found a defensive plan associated with my rook placed on e4. Then I played Qg4 forcing him to choose between an unpleasant endgame and losing a pawn. First option was better, but he chose the second one. But just when I thought that I have a stable advantage he suddenly played 30… g4. I knew that I have to cover d2 square, but missed that after a queen check his rook can go to h1.

My mistake was that I thought only about defense. 32. Qe4 was serving the same defensive purpose, but also was taking g6 square under control. After 32… Qc1+ 33. Kf2 Rh1 the following 34. Qg6+ with the series of checks forced his king to a7 and then Qe3+ would force the queens exchange where I would have +2 advantage.

So 32. Qc3 gave up the win, but I still had a draw. The problem was I had less than a minute left. When he played 34… Qg1+ I had a choice between Kg3 and Ke2. Unfortunately I didn’t like Ke2, not seeing that he doesn’t have anything more than a perpetual and played Kg3. It was a losing move. After 35… Kf5 I realized that e4 is coming, also I suddenly saw that I have only 4 seconds left, so I have to move right away. My move was a blunder, while it was sinking into me, my flag fell.

After the game he said that 36. Re4 probably could save me, but 36… Rh7 was winning anyway.

It was a last round, my opponent was a boy rated 1399. He played Scandinavian and then it became transposed Blackburne-Kloosterboer gambit. I found later that I played against it in 2010 and won, didn’t remember that. I think d3 made bishop on e2 passive. Then I made a bad move playing Nfd2. The idea was to force bishops exchange, but I didn’t see Nd4.

On move 10 he could play Bh3, though it looks above not only his pay grade, but probably mine too. He continued to press, but his 13… g5 was really bad being punished by 14. Nb5. After 14. Nxf5 I suddenly saw, that he has Bc5+ and Ng3#, so played Qe1. He couldn’t stop attacking, his Nh5 was a bad move. I realized that after queens exchange I will be better. Then I found 18. f4, 18… Nxf4 was better then 14… Nhg3+, which was -3. After bishops exchange he offered a draw, of course I refused.

It became technical, I made actually more moves than in the score-sheet. I played c4, d4, managed to win his “b” pawn and in a completely lost position having about 10 seconds left, he blundered a fork and resigned.

 

It was a last round in Monday’s club, my opponent was a man rated 1813, new in the club. I got White, played Ruy Lopez, he went along with Chigorin variation. He didn’t look quite sure about the order of the moves, I used it and played 14.d5.

After the opening he started attack on the queenside, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Computer thinks I had to be more careful and play 17. Bd2 and then b4 or b3. So he got some advantage and then I made a mistake by playing 22. Qe2. Only after I made the move I noticed that I can’t take on c4 because of Bb5 and my queen is trapped. He saw that too. By the way the idea to attack c4 pawn was good, but for that I had to play 22. Nf3 then 23. Nd2.

I saw that my chances don’t look very good and decided to sharpen the game by playing typical Nf5. Computer still recommends to play Be3 before that, saving the bishop. I was able to improve my position, but then missed 35.Qg4 with an equal game. So I was again worse after 37… Rb3. Then I didn’t see that I can’t defend my pawn by playing 38. Qf3.

I realized that my only chance was to use the weakness of his light squares. On move 44 I missed very strong d6, as I was occupied by the idea of the rook sacrifice. After I played 44. Re4 I noticed that he has 44… Rc1+ and 45… Qc5 and thought that he can threaten my king. But 45… Qc5 was losing after 46. Qf7, my king after checks was safe on h5.

The move that was saving him was 45… Qa7 and then if 46. Qf7 then 46… Qe7. After he played 44… Rb3 I realized that I won the game. The final position after Rxh6+ and Qg8#  looks similar to Max Lange’s mate.

 

I played two games this week, both in penultimate rounds, Ruy Lopez with Black, both featured the same line of Chigorin variation.

Game 1 – it was Mondays club, my opponent was a master rated 2233. I decided to try 15… Nc6 and 16… exd4. I forgot the next book move 17… Ne5 and played Re8. I knew that I need to play d5, but didn’t execute it well. After 19… d5 20. exd5 I needed to play intermediate Nb4 and only after that Nxd5. So he suddenly sacrificed his bishop on h7, I didn’t see it.

It was not that bad because I got two bishops, but my next move, 23… Bf6, was a big mistake. It went down after that and after 26… Be6 the game was basically over.

Game 2 – it was Thursdays club, my opponent was a boy rated 1509. We went along the same line of Chigorin variation as on Monday. I thought maybe I will outbook him, as I looked up that line. I played 17… Ne5 this time and we followed the book for 19 moves. Then he played 20. Ng3. I had to play d5 on moves 20, I think I considered it, but thought that he has Be4 after exd5. There was actually an intermediate move 21… Bb4 and then Qxd5 with an equal position.

So my weak d6 pawn got under pressure. I tried to defend it and on move 25 made a crucial mistake playing 25… g6. After 26. Qd5 he was winning a piece – 26… Qxd5 27. Nxe7+ and Nxd5 or if I would avoid Qxd5 he would follow with 27. Nh6+ with a forced mate. But he didn’t see it and eventually I equalized.

We transferred into a R+N vs. R+B  endgame, I think then he offered a draw, I refused. Then we got into a N vs. B endgame. I liked my position and thought that I have a chance. I probably had it, but played 42… Nc7 instead of 42… a5 43. Bh2 b4 44. axb4 axb4.

I tried to use his bad bishop, but to no avail. He again offered a draw, I said I will think about it. Somewhere around move 50 he started to look at the scoresheet looking for a 3-fold repetition, there actually was one. I didn’t say anything, but soon decided to agree to a draw.

It  was 5th round in the Thursdays club, my opponent was a boy rated 1479. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. I think I was not yet in a good shape, that’s why I played anti-Marshall after 7… 0-0. I played it only once and lost to 1900 rated guy.

Computer thinks that I could play Ba4 on move 15, I played it a move later. I decided not to give up my Spanish bishop for an extra doubled pawn, computer approved, giving only 0.12 after 16. Bxb4 Nxb3 17. axb3 d6. Then I got a feeling that my position is somewhat inferior and tried to improve it. 33. Rxc6 with following 33… Qxc6 34. Bd8 was better than my 33. Bc3.

After 33… Qc4 I didn’t like Qc2, it looked passive and decided to sacrifice a pawn by playing Ra1. It was not sound, but he played Kh7. Though my next move wasn’t the best, computer still wanted me to play Qxc2, I intercepted the initiative in a few moves. He decided to counterattack on the kingside. His f5 didn’t look like a good idea to me, but I missed 44. g4, I saw it only after I played Qd5. I wanted to use his king’s position, but couldn’t find the right move, I had left less than 5 minutes after 48 moves.

There was 50. Qf1 Nc7 51. Qd3, I missed it. Than it came a crucial moment after 52. Qc6 Qb3. I could play 53. Qxb5 with following 53… Qd1+ and Qxd2, but I had like 1 minute and 20 seconds left and that queen endgame didn’t look clear to me. I didn’t see that after 53… Qd1 I had 54. Qf1 Qxd2 55. Qxf5+, then Qe4 with extra pawn, computer evaluated it as +1.  So instead I went for a perpetual.

It was a first round of the new tournament in Monday’s club and I got again the master I played a week before. I had White, he played his usual French, this time it was Tarrasch, open variation. Later I found that we played it 3 years ago and had a draw.

We followed the book, his 13… b5 was a novelty. Then on a move 15 he made a serious mistake, he even later called it a blunder. It was a combination – 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Rxe6, winning 2 pawns. I swear to god that not once during the game I considered sacrifice on e6, before and after a castle, game will prove that. But it was always taking with one light piece on e6, then with another, never with a rook.

As I remember at that moment I didn’t see how I can improve the position of my pieces, so played h3. He then started to press on the queenside, but by his own expression “overstretched”. After playing 22. Nd4 I suddenly saw that the sacrifice on e6 is finally possible and played it. He couldn’t take my knight because of the weak 8th horizontal as well as the threat of Bd6+.

So I got an extra pawn. Computer thinks that I had to keep my rook. The exchange on e7 was a mistake, after 35. b4 I would have 0.8 advantage. So he got his pawn back, I thought that in the pawn endgame I would have some advantage, so exchanged the light pieces. Soon I realized that I am not winning this game. I was already in the time trouble as well as him.

There was a clear draw after 49. Ke3 Ke5 50. f4 Kd5. I played 49. Kg3, it was OK too, because after 49… Ke4 50. f3+ Ke3 I had 51. Kg2. But I think I didn’t see Kg2 and suddenly played impulsive g5. He didn’t take it as I expected, but just calmly played 50… f5. Then I realized that I am lost. I was upset of course and he was even apologetic saying that it was a draw.

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