I played yesterday in the last round of the Club championship. It was a guy rated about the same as me,  I was White, here is the game. The game reminded me of the game I played year and a half ago:
It was also Petroff  (though I played Black) and my bishops allowed me to win in the middlegame (this time their strength showed also in the endgame). I got some advantage in the opening, maybe Petroff was an opening experiment for my opponent, at least I didn’t see in DB him playing it before. He gave me two bishops, I increased pressure and was able to win a central pawn, then I forced exchange of the queens and got a 2B vs. B+N endgame with passed pawn on d5 and very good chances to win. The bishops supported advancing of the pawn, they were very strong. After my opponent gave up a knight for the pawn, he still continued to play unless he had just a king.
After not playing well in the last 3 rounds  I really tried to get myself together (I even came to the club 40 minutes before the game, walked in the park, etc.) and I am glad that I finished the tournament on a good note. I got 5 out of 9 and my rating is going back to “A”.

I played this Sunday the last game of the tournament.  My opponent was the guy I knew, had 2 hard fought draws with him, rating 50 lower than mine. He started with 1. e4 and after 1… e5 2. Nf3 I knew he will play Scotch game (saw his games on the Web).  I never played “rated” Scotch before. I didn’t quite like the positions I got online few times and didn’t want to play opening that somebody obviously knows better than me, so I decided to change decorations.

What about Petrov defense  ( also called Petroff defense, in Russia it was Russian game)  2… Nf6?  I knew first few moves, hoped he knows no more than that (that was right assumption), also knew it was Kramnik’s weapon.  Later I learned his statistics with Black:

+5 – 11 = 64 – 46.25%

This is higher than average in DB ( 40-43%), and 80% draws!

After several moves the position was symmetrical, boring and drawish.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d3 ( French Attack) Nf6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. h3 d5 10. d4 Re8

I remembered all bad play in this tournament and realized why GMs after that just make a draw in the next round. If he would offer it, I would agree right away.  But then situation suddenly changed.

11. Bb5 h6 This is the move I didn’t like after the game, allows Ne5. 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Ne5 ( now it doesn’t have the same effect as before ) Bb7 14. a3 c5

15. f4 cxd4 16. Qxd4 c5

After double c5, like after double shot of … ( whatever you drink ) the blood started to run faster in my veins.  17. Qf2 d4

18. Ne2 Ne4 19. Qe1 Bh4. Bishops are becoming very dangerous.

20. Qd1 Qd5 21. c4 Qe6 22. Qb3 Rab8 23. Qa4

( Crafty found 23.  … d3 24. Nxd3 Nd2 25. Bxd2 Qxe2 26. Nf2  Qxd2 27. Qxa7 Qxf4 28. Rad1 Qg3 29. Rd5 Re2 30. Qxc5 where White wins the piece for 2 pawns ).

23. .. a6 24. Qd7

loses the game –  24. … Qxd7 25. Nxd7 Rbd8 26. Ne5 d3

White resigned ( 27. Nc3 d2 ).

Doing some chess search, I came to Dan Heisman’s web site to the page with his guidelines. There were quite a few of them, very useful stuff. I chose ten I liked the most, so here they are:

1. “You would not give up the Bishop Pair for nothing any more than you would give up a Queen for nothing.”

I have a correspondence game now where I am pawn down, my only hope is a pair of bishops. I’ll see how it will develop.

2. “You improve (and your rating goes up) when you

a) learn a new pattern or principle or

b) when you identify a mistake and are able to avoid repeating it – not when you win a bunch of games.”

I will trace it.

3. “Play as much as you can, especially slow chess – it helps you develop board vision.”

I switched from online blitz to online correspondence chess, will see the effect.

4. “*Don’t be afraid of losing. Be afraid of playing a game and not learning something.  Losing can be a great motivator if it helps you identify and correct things you are doing that cause the loss”.

This is very right.

5. “*Time management is an important skill in chess; having 15 minutes left when our opponent has 5 (in a sudden death time control without time delay) is worth about 200 ratings points!”

The opposite (5/15) happened to me twice lately and the result was disastrous.

6. “A bishop is good behind its own pawns if they are mobile. If those pawns are fixed, then it may be a bad bishop.” (but remember Suba’s ‘Bad Bishops guard good pawns!”).

I am playing 4 bishops correspondence endgame right now, will use it.

7. “In the Ruy Lopez, the play is rich enough that the better player almost always wins.”

I love Ruy Lopez exactly for that.

8. “Botvinnik’s rule: In slow games, use about 20% of your time for the first 15 moves.  In fast games, use LESS than 20% of your time for the first 15 moves”

I will try to make it a golden rule for me.

9. “When looking for tactics – for either player – look for Checks, Captures, and Threats, in that order – for both players.”

I miss threats when they come not on the current move, but on the next one.

10. *”Never push a passed pawn passed its zone of protection (unless it promotes by force!).

I was punished twice for that in the last dozen OTB games.

Interesting how many out of this ten somebody else reading this post will select as helping him/her.