It was a strange game.  I got White, with a boy I played 4 times before, =3, -1.
I knew he would play Petroff, so I decided to try a new line I looked at some time ago, here is the game. I didn’t expect f5, then thought I’ll try to get two bishops. Then for some reason I decided to exchange the queens.

We played with a 30 seconds increment, nevertheless I played unusually fast, spending 22 minutes on 28 moves.  First it costed me a win, when I automatically played prepared move 22. Rxa7 missing that I can win a knight. Then it almost costed me a game. Instead of attacking with a 26. Rc8 (not sure that I would find all other moves like g4, that Houdini suggested) I got that bad idea about exchanging the rooks, thinking that I will have a better B vs. N endgame.
It was a mistake, I lost a pawn and realized that I have to fight hard for a draw.
My strange, don’t care mood that evening helped me at this moment, I switched to the defending mode without delay.

After my 36th move objectively it was lost, though a win required exact play from him. But he made a mistake, which I didn’t use playing 41. Bf6. He had a win in his hands, but lost a crucial tempo with 42… b3. I played exactly from this moment, bringing my king to the queenside.

It was a funny position after move 48, when he couldn’t take my bishop on a1. Since then it was a draw, he tried to do something, I just tried to play carefully and watched for 3-fold repetition, still missed one – after White moves 62, 64 and 72. Anyway, eventually he realized that it’s a draw and basically forced it.

I played with the young, 25+ guy, had White. We got Sicilian defense, Moscow variation, here is the game. It looked like my opponent wasn’t familiar with it, spending a lot of time on every move, still finding the right ones. Then on a move 12 he thought no less than 50 minutes. I thought he was thinking about d5. Also I realized that he is rusty, didn’t play for a long time – it was an only explanation for all of this. Finally he played Ne5. When I played Rc1, I thought that maybe it’s not a good idea to place rooks ready for the fork, but decided to be careful and shoo off the knight soon. He had less than 20 minutes and accelerated. I had an hour more.

After d5 things started to happen faster.  I made a bad move Nxd5 that could cost me a game. He noticed after the game about 17… Rc1, but even then he didn’t realize how bad it was for me. After he missed a win, I managed to make probably one good move for the whole game – Nf5. After all the exchanges the pawn “a7” was here for me on the silver plate. But I didn’t like his Rc2 and didn’t use this chance. In the post-mortem he said that I could play Re2 after Rc2 and his knight is in a grave danger.

After 23… Nc6 he offered a draw. I looked at the position, at the clock (he had less than 15 minutes vs my ~ hour) and refused. I thought that the endgame bishop vs. knight that we came to is better for me, but it looks like I somewhat screwed it up. I the end I considered 39.  Bxf4+, but miscalculated, not seeing that he can move his “g ” pawn instead of “h” one and get the queen first. Anyway, he didn’t play it and after we both moved our pieces back he offered a draw again. He had about 3 minutes, I had 15-20, but I didn’t see any reason to continue playing and agreed. He said that he didn’t play for 5 years, in 2006 he played a lot including Canadian Open.

As my very favorite AC/DC say:

“Kicked in the teeth again
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win
Kicked in the teeth again
Ain’t this misery ever gonna end?”

This is exactly what’s happening with the tournament I am playing in (except second “sometimes”). This Sunday I played and guess who was my opponent?
The son of the guy I played with a week before ( see my previous post ).
Of course, I was White again and of course, he played Scandinavian defense.
What I thought when I was accepting the same freaking Portuguese variation ?
First – I got some knowledge about that during the week
second – he shouldn’t be as experienced as his father.

Maybe he isn’t, but his rating is 160 points higher. Anyway, I didn’t get into that kind of trouble as last time. I successfully avoided king-side attack and even had euphoria about getting 2 bishops, but then I got into different trouble, my queen-side lagging in development. It was another theoretical move, that I didn’t know.
I heroically struggled, again spending a lot of time.
It reminded me later my former countryman – GM Kramnik, getting into prepared novelties in the same variation twice in the current match with Anand. Finally almost everything was exchanged except R+B vs. R+N and pawns. And here I made a mistake and lost a pawn, but recovered after that, winning his pawn and finally getting into B vs. N with a passed pawn on king-side and 2P vs 3P on queen-side.
The hope returned, but I had only 5 minutes left. I made a move advancing the pawn and setting a trap, he didn’t bite, played another move ( which I didn’t see ) and I lost my pawn.
I think, I could draw even then, but time was going and having less than 90 seconds on the clock I missed a fork. I would probably lose by time anyway, he had a huge advantage here.

Probably I made a mistake by completely stopping my blitz activities on FICS and got out of shape, but most importantly, I realized again that my endgame technique is not acceptable. If you know how to play, you can play fast and you can win.
I found a very similar endgame by Capablanca-Corzo, 1901, pretty famous and another B vs. N endgame by Kramnik. I swore, that I will memorize at least the first one, all 59 moves, though it wouldn’t be as easy as many years ago.