I prepared mostly for one specific opponent going to the club yesterday. I lost to him recently, very painfully and there was also another reason to try to win that game at all costs. I found that he plays 1. d4 … 2. c4 and that he lost 2 games playing against Benko. I prepared against the line (not very good one) that he played. I come to the club and here we go  – I get him. Of course Benko follows, here is the game.

On move 10 he deviates,  still I feel very confident and play accordingly. Maybe because of that, but rather him being not in very good shape, he misses a fork. It changes the character of play, since he now has a better control of e5, with my knight gone and rook + queen on “e” vertical.

My 17… Nb6 was not very good, Qb6 would keep a clear advantage. 20… e6 is not good either, creating weaknesses. Then I make a bad mistake playing 24… Ra6 and not seeing 25. Ng5. He doesn’t see it too .

His e5 looks like “hope chess” to me. I see that there is no immediate danger and take the pawn. After 28. Kh1 it was a funny moment, when I was so sure that I am better that I even wanted to stay under discovered attack and play Ra2, because I didn’t see where knight can jump to do the damage. Then a had a gut feeling, that it’s not good to stay under attack, he can play Nxg6 or something, so I decided to play cool Kg8. And exactly at that moment I saw Ng4+ (if king would stayed). That move back somehow dropped out of my attention. Can you imagine it?

And then he plays Nc7?? Of course, Ra2 follows and he resigns. He said that he saw Ra2 before, but then he forgot. The revenge could be better, but I’ll take it.

Advertisements

I played yesterday in the old club, unexpectedly my opponent was an old gentleman with whom I had 3 draws before. I had Black, here is the game. After 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 I wanted to play Queen’s Indian, but “automatically” played g6 and realized that the best I could do is to play Benko gambit.  In the first game with this guy  (and first game in this club) we had Benko and it was a draw. This time he accepted the pawn. The game went along the line which I prepared for another opponent, I played quickly spending about 11 minutes on the first 15 moves. I got pressure on the queenside, we exchanged 3 light pieces each.

I was feeling very good in this position. Of course I saw 23… Bxc3 and this Fritz line until 27… Qxf3 with getting pawn back, but I wasn’t sure I like the arising endgame. Looks like it was my only chance to win. Then again on move 26 I didn’t like getting the pawn back because of his exchange on e5, it was my last chance to equalize. And then on move 28 I played pretty quickly Qb7 and saw right away that after Na5, Nc6 I lose an exchange. He didn’t see it, but I was in some kind of shock – how could I miss it, didn’t play well and after 35. a4 realized that I am in a big trouble after 36. b5 with him getting “a” and “b” connected passed pawns and very strong knight on c6. I thought that the best practical chance ( Fritz supported it) was sacrificing an exchange on b4. I expected 37. Qc6, but he played 37. Rc1 and I started to breathe easier seeing that my bishop is strong and supports b4 pawn very well, also his “a” pawn was weak. He saw that too and somewhat unexpectedly gave the exchange back. We had queen and rook each and with his king a bit more open than mine I was having some thoughts.

Then after 43. Qc3 we got to a critical moment of the game. I had 14 minutes left, he 19 and I started to consider counter-attack after Kh6. But then I saw his Rg7 coming and a few lines (not even the worst ones) convinced me that nothing good will happen and I should head for a draw. After 43… Qd4 the guy smiled and said: “Fourth time…”.

After I came home and analyzed the game with Fritz I realized that I overestimated my position and tried to get too much out of it. Equalizing (and possibly drawing) with Black in the gambit with same rated (and nice) guy was definitely not the worst what could happen.

On Thursday I played in the 1st round of the new tournament.
I was Black, my opponent was middle-aged guy, 1600+ rated.
I played Benko, for the 4th time and it was my best game with it,  here it is.
On the 7th move he went for the wrong line and lost a pawn in 2 moves.
The position didn’t look quite like typical Benko with my “f7”, “f6” pawns and bishop on e7 unless he exchanged his dark-colored bishop to my centralized knight. My dark-colored bishop went to h8-a1 diagonal and I initiated pressure on his weak “a” pawn. Eventually he couldn’t defend that pawn, so tried to get some chances on “b” line. I defended and then got decisive counterplay with the two pawn breakthroughs in the center, and my rook attacking on “a” line. He was also in time trouble having about 5 minutes left, I had about 20. Then  I saw the line winning the rook with a mate following in a few moves.  When he was about to lose a rook he resigned, funny that there actually was a mate in 1 that I overlooked quickly following that line. He had a bit more than 1 minute, I had ~15.
It’s an old Russian proverb.
Another game in the club, regular G/90.
It wasn’t one of the guys I expected, but still ~1500 rated.
This is a pairing you get when you are in the last quarter of the table.
Due to my standing and his rating I felt like my back was up against the wall,
I had to win no matter what.  Here is the game.
It was crazy,  I made a few risky moves,  couldn’t calculate all the lines and just relied on my gut feeling.
He started Nf3, I was able to transpose it to Benko gambit. After some positional play on the queenside I finally made the move similar to the one I didn’t make in the last game – 21…Nd3, at least I had 1 hour left. By the way Fritz approves this move and doesn’t like his exchange after that. He missed a fork after 23. Re3, but I couldn’t imagine all the complications I was getting into after winning the exchange.  Fritz by the way in no hurry to make that fork. I wanted to play 26…Rc5, but didn’t like 27.b4. Fritz says Rc5 is good and gives a line proving it (see the comment). I attacked with 27…f5, then some not the best moves from both sides followed. I played e4 one move later than should,  giving him the only opportunity to get advantage (there could be a pretty nasty endgame for me), but 31. Nbd4 was not easy to find, he made a mistake giving advantage to me, which I almost lost by playing “strong” move 32…Ne3, but then he missed mate in 3.
I was happy to win and it was a first win with Benko after 2 draws with higher rated opponents when I didn’t use all my chances.
Yesterday I started in a new chess club.
People, who read my posts and comments, know the reason.
The old club was good, but I grew up and higher rated people stopped to come.
I got into Open section (there was also U1700), down three quarters of the rating list.
My opponent was very old guy, rated 100 higher.
I was Black, he started with Nf3. I was almost ready to play Grunfeld, but then seeng d4 and c4
suddenly decided to transform to Benko. I saw that the guy likes positional play and
didn’t want to compete with him on that ground.
He didn’t accept the pawn, eventually I got some initiative.
My position on the queenside looked good and I managed to create a weak pawn – b2.
Then he forced exchange of the rooks pair and queens.
His sudden exchange on f6 took me by surprise and his pawns attack in the center
required some measures from me. After that I didn’t see how I can strengthen my position
and forced rooks exchange, after which opposite-colored bishops made the result clear.
He offered a draw, I agreed.
I thought that I played pretty well, Fritz at home as always spoiled my euphoria.
It found that I missed a nice little tactics at the very end – 28… dxe5 29. fxe5 Bc3 30. Rd1 Bxe5
winning a pawn, though winning this endgame won’t be easy (if possible at all).
I made the same mistake as I did in the previous Benko game (“No pain, no gain” post).
I didn’t think about the line I didn’t like.
Why would I give him strong pawns in the center after dxe5 fxe5 – to  create a passed pawn?
But if would see that his back rank is weak then these pawns would look differently.

Yesterday I started in a new chess club.   The old club was good, but I grew up and higher rated people stopped to come.

I got into Open section (there was also U1700),  down three quarters of the rating list.  My opponent was very old guy, rated 100 higher.  I was Black, he started with Nf3.  Here is the game.  I was almost ready to play Grunfeld, but then suddenly decided to transform to Benko. I saw that the guy likes positional play and didn’t want to compete with him on that ground.  He didn’t accept the pawn,  eventually I got some initiative.  My position on the queenside looked good and I managed to create a weak pawn – b2.  Then he forced exchange of the rooks pair and queens.  His sudden exchange on f6 took me by surprise and his pawns attack in the center required some measures from me. After that I didn’t see how I can strengthen my position and forced the rooks exchange, after which opposite-colored bishops made the result clear.  He offered a draw, I agreed.

I thought that I played pretty well, but Fritz at home spoiled my euphoria (as always :)).  It found that I missed a nice little tactics at the very end – 28… dxe5 29. fxe5 Bc3 30. Rd1 Bxe5 winning a pawn, though winning this endgame won’t be easy (if possible at all).

I made the same mistake as I did in the previous Benko game (“No pain, no gain” post).  I didn’t think about the line I didn’t like. Why would I give him strong pawns in the center after dxe5 fxe5 – to  create a passed pawn?  But if I would see that his back rank is weak then these pawns would look differently.

The idea to title the post about the tournament where I just played “No pain, no gain” got quick approval after reading an excellent article
in Wikipedia about this expression.
First it was introduced by Jane Fonda in her aerobics workout videos and it was regarding
working out past of experiencing muscle aches. Bodybuilders liked it, they think (and it’s true) that muscles grow only if they suffer
and you can’t become professional if you avoid this.
And the origin goes back to the beginning of the second century.
Rabbi Ben Hei Hei said, “According to the pain is the gain.”
So, it was a big tournament, 3 days, 6 games, 40/2, SD/1.
I decided to play in U200 section and was in the bottom of the rating list.
There were 4 games for me because I had to take 2 byes on Sunday.
The result was 2 draws, 2 losses, that explains the title.
I was better or equal after all the openings, never was in the time trouble, but it wasn’t enough.
I see some things that went wrong, but I would appreciate any opinion, as well as long-term advice.
You can bypass first Fritz’s comments to get your own general view.
Game 1 –  I am White, playing with young guy, 20+.
Scandinavian. People that follow my posts know that I hate it, but I learned a few things.
He plays Qxd5, Qd6 variation and after Nf3/Bg4 I use the advice from my friend linuxguy
(given after discussion of one of my losses) and play h3/Bg5, g4/Bg6 and then Ne5.
I like my position, Fritz 11 too, but then I start to miss the good moves,
one of them – +2.79! He gradually equalizes, but his king is still in the center.
I make pawn sac to open the lines, which I thought after the game was too aggressive,
but it’s actually Fritz’s choice, though it doesn’t give any advantage.
I play the bad move, then soon another one and my position deteriorates, his kingside pawn majority becomes decisive.
I am in the bad endgame, which I step by step lose.

The idea to title the post about the tournament where I just played  “No pain, no gain” got a quick approval after reading an excellent article in Wikipedia about this expression.

First it was introduced by Jane Fonda in her aerobics workout videos and it was regarding working out past of experiencing muscle aches. Bodybuilders liked it, they think (and it’s true) that muscles grow only if they suffer and you can’t become professional if you avoid this.  And the origin goes back to the beginning of the second century.  Rabbi Ben Hei Hei said, “According to the pain is the gain.” (The Ethics of the Fathers 5:21).

So, it was a big tournament, 3 days, 6 games, 40/2, SD/1.  I decided to play in U2000 section and was in the bottom of the rating list. There were 4 games for me because I had to take 2 byes on Sunday.  The result was 2 draws, 2 losses,  that explains the title.

I was better or equal after all the openings, never was in the time trouble, but it wasn’t enough. I see some things that went wrong, but I would appreciate any opinion, as well as long-term advice.

I posted all the games,  you can first bypass Fritz’s comments to get your own general view.

Game 1 –  I am White, playing with young guy, 20+.  Scandinavian defense. People that follow my posts know that I hate it, but I learned a few things.  He plays Qxd5, Qd6 variation and after Nf3/Bg4 I follow the advice from my friend linuxguy (given after discussion of one of my losses) to play h3/Bg5, g4/Bg6 and then Ne5.  I recently remembered it, found it in DB, it’s called Lasker variation when it’s played after Qa5, but it’s also played after Qd6 . Funny that the same variation was played afterwards in the blitz game between my opponent and Russian GM and GM played h3, g4, Ne5 too!  I liked my position, Fritz 11 too, but then I started to miss the good moves, one of them – +2.79! He gradually equalized, but his king was still in the center.  I made pawn sac to open the lines, which I thought after the game was too aggressive, but it’s actually Fritz’s choice, though it doesn’t give any advantage, just equal.  I played a bad move, then soon another one and my position deteriorated, his kingside pawn majority became decisive.

Game 2 – I am White again, playing with the old guy. I knew he will play Caro-Kann and he does. I play Tartakower (fantasy) variation that GM Bareev suggested,  I played quite a few blitz games with it, liked it and it looks to me like a less common variation. The guy confirmed that after the game,  saying it was a first time he got it. Good!  Nevertheless, he chooses the best answer e6 – 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 f3 e6, then in a few moves he gives me 2 bishops. I feel I am better, but can’t decide what plan I should pursue. Meanwhile he counters in the center and I get some calculation work to do. Pawns get exchanged, then queens. I am a bit underdeveloped, so I try to fix it without giving up any material or position. Still, has to give back the bishop, position becomes completely equal, he offers a draw, I agree. Fritz’s estimated this position as 0.00. Interesting, that as opposed to the first game, Fritz doesn’t find anything to criticize me for at all, “perfect game” :).  

Game 3 ( 5th round) – I am Black, playing with the guy 45-50 years old. He starts 1. c4 Nf6 2. d4. I decide to play Benko gambit, it resurrected in my blitz play recently after a year of absence, I found that it’s easier than Grunfeld, where there are too many variations and some of them I don’t quite like.  In total I counted ~100 Benko blitz games,  so good time to try it. I think it took him by surprise, nevertheless he accepted it, and for some time played it quite right. But the time he was spending was 1.5 times more than mine. I played all the book, then all the typical moves. He was almost suffering under pressure. Suddenly, after thinking for 20-25 minutes, he makes the move I was afraid of – 22. Qa4,  forcing the queens exchange . Yeah, they say that even after that the Black in Benko gambit still has the initiative, but I didn’t feel like that. So, I retreat, but finally queens are exchanged. He has about 12.5 minutes for 16 moves, I have about 40, but the position became pretty simple and another rook exchange is coming up with his next move. He makes that move and suddenly offers a draw. I think for 5 seconds, weighing my 2 bishops and time against his spare “a” pawn and agree. He points at his pawn with some gesture, meaning it’s not worth much and hurries away.  I realize later, that the max I could get was his “a” pawn, the rest was on the kingside where 2 bishops wouldn’t be such a big advantage.  Fritz evaluated this as – -.27, just quarter of a pawn for me. And he would probably make his moves in time in such a simple position. I don’t know.  I saw how FM whom I know very well, grinded down one guy rated 270 lower than him in completely equal R+B endgame, cornered his king – something like Kh1,  R at g2 and B on the same diagonal and made a pawn break. The guy having just 30 seconds left until end of the game to think about it simply resigned. They both agreed that the guy screwed up and it should be a draw. But my guy was rated 100 higher than me, not 270 lower. Still, here is the professional approach. Funny that at home Crafty finds that his best move was the worst one, losing a piece in 3 moves. “Meaningless” queens exchange , then my nice bishop for knight? and boom! I attack his knight and he has nowhere to go. OK, exchanges are looking absurd when I am a pawn down,  but it’s a forced line, right?  So, I have to calculate it, no matter I like it or not  and evaluate the arising position. I didn’t do it, so didn’t get rewarded for the lots of time spent for the opening preparation and for actually well played game.

Game 4 ( 6th round) – I play with an old guy, Black again, 1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 transpares to French, Classical. I am OK after the opening, but then chose the wrong plan 15. … f6.  I just don’t see f4 coming, which refutes my plan with Bg6. I miss the possibility to counter-attack on the queenside and don’t find the right defense against his maneuver  Nc1-d3-c5  (though I see it) with the purpose of attacking a6 and e6. I lose a pawn, but it’s not the end of it. My bishop is really bad and the pressure becomes stronger and stronger. Finally I miss his rook penetrating to the 7th line with the forced mate in a few moves. Painful loss, and I leave the tournament being pretty upset. I calm down later after running the games through Fritz and seeing that I had my chances and not everything was bad.

I feel that something important is missing from my preparation. The ability to find the right plan, to see the right move and calculate doesn’t come with blitz, so blitz will be essentually reduced. I don’t actually know how you learn it – by l0oking at GM games, playing slow games? I don’t quite like artificial exercises and don’t feel anymore that playing correspondence games gives me much. Maybe I should try to play longer games on the Web?  One of my thoughts before the tournament was that  I should play more OTB with the stronger opponents and I saw how right it was.