chess


It was a last round of the Monday’s tournament. My opponent was a guy rated 100 lower, I won two times against him in the past. We played French, Tarrasch, closed variation. I wanted to avoid Bd3, c3 line and played 5. f4. He traded the light pieces, I didn’t want to avoid the queens trade by the price of castling.

I thought that I have an advantage after the opening and planned f5 for quite some time. Computer offers 30. h4 Rc8 31. h5 Na7 32. Bc5 Nc6 33. Rh1 with +1.40 estimate. My 31. f5 gave back most of the advantage. Another mistake was exchanging of the light-colored bishops. Soon I got a feeling that my advantage is gone and I need to switch to defense. That plus being low on time forced my bad decision to exchange the rooks, computer evaluates it as -3.

Three times, on moves 41-43 he missed the possibility to play h5 with a win. I had to play g4, but didn’t realize that my “g” pawn will become an object of an attack. On move 44 he finally played h5 and the game was decided. It was an upsetting end of a not a good tournament.

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.

It was a last round in the Mondays club, I played my opponent twice, won both times. I got White, Sicilian again, Moscow variation. My 6. e5 wasn’t a good idea, c3 was better. After 20 moves the play became more complicated. I found 24. Nxc5 and the position was equal, but then my  28. Qf3 was a mistake. I decided that 29. h4 could give me some chances and it did.

After 34… Kf7 I got an advantage, computer offers a crazy line 34… f4 35. Qxf4 e5 with an equal play. It was a crucial moment on move 37. I saw that Rc7+ will give me a pawn on g6 and a dangerous attack, but computer evaluates it as ~-2.3. Instead White had 37. Qc7+! Re7 38. Qd8 with a winning attack on the 8th horizontal. After 40 moves I realized that I should fight for a draw.

By playing 42… Ra2 he lost his winning chances. I checked 49. Bc1+ Kb1 50. Qe1 and saw that he has Qxf2. So in a few moves I got a perpetual.

It was a 4th round in the new club. My opponent was a leader, 3/3, the guy rated the same. He started playing quickly and confidently. He played Vienna Gambit, his 5. Qf3 was unfamiliar to me. I started to feel under pressure after 8. Qg3, Computer criticizes 11… Qe7 preferring Qb6. His 15. Bf6 allowed me to get out of the opening trouble.

Then the balance shifted into my favor, but I didn’t see it right away. So when he blundered with 19. Ra3 I missed winning 19… Bf5. Still I managed to win a pawn, later we transferred into a rook endgame. I knew that my passed pawns are my only chance to win and avoided any exchanges of his queenside pawns to even one of my kingside ones. I remembered the technique called shuffling, when you move the pawns one after another with the rook support.

Then his 44. b5 was a crucial mistake. After 46. Rxa7 I saw that he can’t stop me from queening. To my surprise he continued to play being down a queen. I missed a few forced mates, I really didn’t have much time at that moment. When I was  about to get another queen he resigned.

 

It was penultimate round in the Monday’s club. My opponent was a young man, I had 2 draws with him in the past. We played again Sicilian, this time instead of Rossolimo it was Moscow variation. He chose 3… Nd7, the toughest for White from my point of view variation. 5. Bd3 was a book move that I remembered, 9. Ndb2 was not, computer recommends a4.

11. dxc5 was a mistake, I didn’t see that I can’t play 12. Nb3. Computer doesn’t like my 12. h3 and 13. Nd4 and evaluates the position as -1.4. His 14… d5 allowed me to equalize. I considered 18. Be4, but didn’t like f5. Interesting, that I played 20. Bf1 because of 20. Bxe4 f5, but Houdini offers  20… Nf6 21. Bf4 Qb6 22. Be3 Qc7 23. Bf4 with a draw. His 20… Nxc3 was unexpected, but I quickly saw that it was actually good for me to get two his active pieces for my rook and two pawns.

Then suddenly he played 23… Rd8 and I saw the skewer right away. After 25… f5 I missed 26. Rd1, winning on the spot. Still after I forced the exchanges it became a matter of technique.

 

 

 

It was a 3rd round in the new club, after 2 draws with lower rated opponents I needed a win. I got a kid, whom I played before and won. I had White, Ruy Lopez, Classical Defense Deferred. The book recommends 7. d4 with advantage.

The first pawn break came on move 12. Houdini recommends instead 12… Bxe3 13. fxe3 Ne7 14. Bxd7 Qxd7 with an equality. I could win a pawn after 12… d5 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Bxa7 and then after both Rxa7 and Nxa7 I win e5 pawn. The difference with the line I played is that in this case the knight stands on d5 and in the game it would be a black queen defending e5 pawn. 19. Qc4 looked active, but 19. Rad1 Nd6 20. Nxd6 cxd6 21. Qd3 was winning a pawn.

Another pawn break came on move 32, also d5. I came close to winning a pawn, but didn’t play 36. Nxa6.  Getting two passed pawns on the queenside would give me a serious advantage despite of computer’s modest +1.05 evaluation. Computer also suggests elegant 36. Rxd5 Rxd5 37. Nxa6 with basically the same result. Then we transformed to a bit better for me R+N vs. R+N endgame, where I had to play Rc6 on move 44, not 45.

Then we exchanged rooks and came into an equal knight endgame. Move 62 was natural, but also provoking. Suddenly he took my knight. I had 1.5 minute left and needed to calculate that I at least will not lose the arising pawn endgame if I take the knight, otherwise I would have to take the pawn instead.  After I took his pawn my long time ago acquired knowledge helped me to win.

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