November 12, 2016
It was a last round in the Thursday’s tournament, I got White and my opponent was a young guy rated 1870, never played him before. So, he played Caro-Kann and I chose a most popular line. After 11 moves we had a theoretical position (I didn’t know about that) and c3 is considered a move preventing White to castle queenside, which would be not a bad idea considering what happened in the game.
After he played 17… g6 the best would be 18. Qf3. Then 19. Ng5 was also not a very good move, I wanted him to put a rook in a passive position defending f7 and forgot about Ne5. So, after 20 moves a had a feeling of some instability in my position. Then I just missed his 21… Nxf2.
Interesting that my 23. Nxh5 took him by surprise, he looked confused. Maybe it explains his 23… Nxh5, which was a mistake. But I already had a premove 24. Nxg4, played it quickly and didn’t notice the obvious Rxf7. But then he made another mistake playing 24…Qg3. As soon as he played it he offered a draw.
I agreed without thinking, knowing that I am worse. He even asked me: “Are you sure?”, I said: “Yes”. Actually he had only ~0.25 advantage after queens exchange, so it was not an error in judgement from his side, error was playing Qg3 instead of Ng3 which was keeping his advantage.
November 5, 2016
It was a 6th round at the Thursday’s club, my opponent was a boy, never played him before. I had White and we got Sicilian, Kan variation. I didn’t play the exact book moves, but got myself a playable position.
Then after exchange on a4 I got optimistic, thinking that I had an advantage. Actually, I did not. 22. b5 was better than 22. bxa5, I just thought that it would be difficult to defend that pawn.
23. e5 was a serious mistake, I had to switch to defense after that. 29. f5 was another error in judgement, I thought that I have some chances on the kingside, but I had none. Eventually having 6 minutes vs. his 25 I blundered a rook and mate in 1. Anyway my position was -9 at that moment.
October 23, 2016
It was a round 4 in Monday’s club, my opponent was a boy. I had White and we played Ruy Lopez. He was playing very well until move 30. When I saw 30… Ne7, I realized that finally I can get an advantage. 32… Re6 was better that 32… Ree8 that he played. I had a choice between 33 Qg3 and 33. Bxh6 and eventually decided that Qg3 is simpler with about the same consequences for him, computer prefers Bxh6.
Then I sacrificed a knight on f7 and his position became really bad. After 37. Kf6 I saw Bg5+, but didn’t see the next move that led to mate – f4+!. Another possibility to win, not so forced, was h4. But I was worried too much about Rh8 and played Qh4+.
I still had an attack going and missed 53. Rf1. By move 60 I had one minute left and even saw 60. Qg4, didn’t have time to evaluate it and chose a simple solution – to exchange queens and rooks. The arisen endgame was won for me and he resigned after he realized that.
October 22, 2016
It was fifth round in the Thursday’s club. I got Black again and played a boy, never played him before. We played Italian Game. I had an advantage in the opening and missed 16… b4!
Then he got a “Ruy Lopez” style attack on the kingside. I was holding up until I played Bxf5, Be6 was better. Computer criticizes my 34… Qd3, saying that Bh6 was much better. I thought that it was the only way to save the pawn on c4, but after 35. Nxc4 Nxc4 36. Bxc4 Qd2 37. Qf3 Black can force queens exchange with a transition into an opposite-colored bishops endgame.
After he played 36. Bd5 I thought that my days are numbered and made a desperate attempt to survive by playing 38… Bxe3 and 39… f5. He made two mistakes in a row – 40. Kd2 and 41. Bxe4. After he played 41. Bxe4 I saw that I can play Nb2+ and if he takes the pawn then after Nc5 he loses the bishop. The only way to keep advantage after 40… fxe4 was to play 41. Ke1, then after 41… Kf6 42. Bxe4 Nc4 43. Bxd3 Nxe3 he was still up a pawn.
So after his last inaccuracy – 44. g4, we reached a completely drawn position. When he realized that, we agreed to a draw.
October 10, 2016
My opponent in this forth round at the Thursday’s club was an old foe with whom I had a few draws and losses in the past. I was quite happy seeing him playing Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation. I knew that a book move is 7… Bd7, but decided to play Bd6 to avoid 8. e5. I didn’t realize that e5 is not good for White after 8… Ne7 9. Be3 Nd5.
After 10. Nc4 I had a long thought. In one of my past games I allowed Nxd6 and then my “d” pawn became a liability. Be7 looked too passive. Bf4 was giving up two bishops, but I eventually decided to play it.
After we exchanged rooks I looked in the future with an optimism. I knew that he has a pawn majority on the kingside, but thought that my bishop is better than his knight in this position and I can hold it. This is exactly what happened, we went for a three-fold repetition in the end.
I ran many shootouts to evaluate that position, about 80% of then ended up with a draw. A few cases when White won happened when after e5 Black played f6 and after exchange got an isolated pawn on f6. Two very deep shootouts ended up with a draw. So, my understanding is that with a precise play it is a draw.
October 9, 2016
It was a third round in the Monday’s club, I played the guy who also was at the top of our section. My opponent’s choice to play English Opening was unexpected. A few years ago I would reply with Anglo-Gruenfeld, but I didn’t remember the lines, so played e5. I probably gave him too much space on the queenside, 13… Na5 wasn’t the best move, Nd8 was better.
23… g5 seemed risky to me, but I didn’t want him to have the “e” vertical after 23… f4. Computer suggests playing 33… a4 with the following a6 instead of 33… Qf6, with the idea of opening a “b” line for my rook.
Soon I got worse, also low on time and made a crucial mistake by playing 42… gxf4. I missed that he can take with a knight, creating a threat of fork on e6. Though I flagged in a few moves, it was completely lost.
October 8, 2016
Before this third round game in the Thursday’s club I didn’t sleep enough and had stresses, so wanted to take a bye. But I calmed down by the end of day and decided to play. I looked up a few opening moves in Sicilian e6, expecting one specific opponent with whom I played before and won. My guess was right, I got him and we played the same Szen (`anti-Taimanov’) Variation.
Frankly, all my opening knowledge ended up after 8 moves, so after his 9… b5 I had to decide what to do against upcoming b4. I saw that Nd5 was an only option and thought that if he takes on e4, then after Bb6 I will take his knight with a queen. As soon as he played Nxe4 I realized that I was seeing a ghost, because it was my king there on e1, of course, not queen. But I also saw that he has to move his queen and then I have a fork. He looked troubled and then he suddenly took on f2.
I didn’t like 12. Bxd8 and was seeing another ghost with 12. Kxf2 not liking Qh4+, though there was nothing after that. This and my earlier “vision” could be definitely explained by my state, it happened with me before. Then I saw 12. Bxf2 and played it.
So I got a knight for two pawns, much less than I could get after Kxf2. At that time I didn’t know that, I just felt that the momentum was on my side. Still I needed to play accurately in the arisen after queens exchange endgame. I found a simple solution with 46. Na3 not giving him any chances. I still remembered how I lost in the tournament in June in similar situation, just allowing my opponent to do whatever he wanted.
It became very technical soon and my main goal was not to make a mistake and at the same time advance my pawns. He resigned when it was a mate in 1 coming.