I played two games this week after a long break, Caro-Kann defense with different colors.

In the first game I had Black. It was an Advance Variation, computer recommends playing 12… Rc8 and 13… h5. Anyway I was OK until I played 15… Nh6 instead of Nh4. After 19. Nf4 I had to give up an exchange due to Ng6# or Nxe6 threats. Instead of 20… Na5 I had to take on b2, then Rdb1 leaves d4 pawn without defense and Rab1 is not good either, so 21. Qd3 is the best.

His 29. Qb1 was a blunder, it was strange because he had a lot of time. Computer says 34… Qg5 was a mistake and recommends 34… Rd3 with ~-3 evaluation. 37. Rf2 was another blunder, he could play Rd1. But then I made a mistake that decided the game. I hesitated to take on g4, after 38… Rxg4 39. Kh3 Rxg3+ Black is ~-4. After he played Rcf1 the position became equal, but I lost the initiative and was in time trouble. So no wonder I played 39. Bc5? instead of equalizing Rd2. After 40. Rf8 it became really bad, 40… Qxf8 was also losing, I evaluated that right. 41. Qb7 was played with 6 seconds on the clock.

In the second game my opponent was a young man, I played him 3 months ago and drew with White in Caro-Kann, he played Caro-Kann again. His 28… Rh6 was a mistake, after 28… Nxh5 it was equal. The same thing a move later, 29… Nxh5 was a huge mistake, I calculated right that g2 and g3 pawns will defend my king against the queen on h5.

But by move 32 I had only about 5 minutes left and made an error playing 32. Rxe6, instead Qa4 with 33. cxb7 after 32… Kb8 or 32… a6 was winning. Then I had to play 33. cxb7+ Qxb7 34. Qd3 covering b1 square. 34. Qf6 or 35. Qf6 was leaving me with some advantage. Instead I allowed a rook check on d1 and then even 36. Kf2, which was not risky as I thought seeing Qb6+, lead to an equal position anyway.

Still he made another mistake, taking on b6 with a pawn. There was a 41. g4 pawn sacrifice that was winning, but with less than a minute left, playing on 15 seconds increment, I didn’t see that. Then it was a pawn race and soon after we got into a queen endgame he offered a draw which I accepted. The final position was equal.

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.

These games both were with 1700+ players, ended in perpetual forced by me, but were quite different.

The first was pretty quiet, still not without some internal tension. I knew my opponent for a long time, I played him in 2009-2010, +1, -1. I had White, Caro-Kann.

It was pretty equal unless I took his rook on d4, computer suggests calm Kh2. After 27. Ne5 he could play g5, but he went for a more simple continuation. I saw that if he takes on a2, I will have at least a perpetual after Qh5. I worried that he can play Nd2 instead of that, but after 29. Qxb7 Nf1+ 30. Kg1 all he had was perpetual.

He decided to take on a2 and after giving him a series of checks I had a dilemma – or force a perpetual or look for a win. I spent a lot of time, but didn’t find anything and having about 5 minutes vs. his 28 forced the perpetual.

The second game was with a boy, whom I beat a year ago, he progressed since that time. I had Black, Giuoco Piano. I don’t like now my plan with Be6 and Qf6, I think Nce7 and bishop on f5 or g4 is better.

I couldn’t move my bishop after 19. Neg5 because of Rxe7, so played c6. He lost his advantage after 23. Nd3 and I started to feel that I have some initiative, but there was  nothing decisive. Then, already having little time, I made a mistake playing 36… Qxf2, Nxd4 was the right move with an equality. I thought that I can play 37… Nxg3+ 38. hxg6 Rh6 with a mate, but missed that his rook on e6 will control h6. After 38. Rf1 I thought that I am about to lose a piece and then he played 39. Be4. At that moment I had 11 seconds and only could think about moving my queen. Intuitively I put it on e2 and after he played Rxf5 started giving checks and he offered a draw.

Right after the game finished people standing around started to tell me that I had a win after Nxg3+ and right, it was a mate in 3. It was ironical that I considered that move before, though with a bit different motif.

 

I decided to post these two games together because they were played against the same opponent, though were very different.

Game 1. It was played in the last round of the tournament where I was +2, -3 against lower ( in average ) rated opponents. Interesting that my opponent beat me a few times in 2-3 minute blitz a few rounds before while we waited for the start.

I got Black and he played Torre attack. I was alright until his 14. Rf3, when I didn’t like his attack on the kingside and started to play weird. First I got that idea about exchanging on d2 and then played Ne4 to neutralize his bishop. Then after 17. Rg3  I saw that he can play Bh6 and didn’t realize that I can simply move out my rook. Then I played  18… Nxe5 not even seeing that I will have to give up the queen. I don’t know was it fatigue or a case of chess blindness.

I didn’t want to resign due to the tournament circumstances I described above and decided to organize some kind of attack on the kingside. He simply could play 26. exf4 and after exchanging rooks I had nothing. His next moves weren’t very good defense and suddenly I started to feel that I have a chance. Still it would be equal if he would play 33. h3. Instead he made a decisive mistake with 33. Qh3. He was really under a time pressure at this moment having 10-20 seconds left and playing on 10 seconds increment. After he gave up his queen my win was a matter of technique.

After the game he couldn’t believe he lost and pointed to a exf4 possibility. I could only smile, as I couldn’t believe myself I won.

Game 2.  This game was a first round. I got White and our game quickly transposed into Caro-Kann,  Gurgenidze variation. It was all about positional maneuvering where I tried to keep my two bishops.

33. Qxc4 was ending up with a perpetual, maybe he saw it  as more dangerous that’s why he played bxc4. He offered a draw soon after that, I refused on the base that he had less time and is 200 lower rated. I am not sure that  I wrote down the moves from 36 to 39 correctly, but the position on move 40 is right. On move 45 I already had a bit less time ( both about a minute ) and actually went for a 3-fold repetition. But he played Kg6 ( after the game he told me that he didn’t want repetition ) and it was a decisive mistake. 45… Ke6 would allow him to take on d5 with a king and it would be a draw. I thought that queens exchange given the pawn structure shouldn’t be bad for me and went for it. Then suddenly I realized that I can create a remote passed pawn and it’s a win.

It was a first round in the Thursday’s club and my opponent was a young man with whom I played before several times and had a positive score though his rating was higher than now. I got White and he played Caro-Kann.  It was really funny moment after his 9… Nd7 when I thought that he blundered a bishop, didn’t know what to do and eventually took it. To my surprise he made a check on a5. I got under pressure soon after the opening and was holding up, though computer didn’t think that my position was too bad.

After the game he said that he considered queen sacrifice 21… Qxf3 22. gxf3 Bh2, but after spending a lot of time on it found defense 23. Bg5. Then just two moves after he makes a serious mistake playing 23… Bf4. First I saw it as a possibility to defend by exchanging rooks. Then thinking on 25. c4  Bxd2 I noticed that I can play not trivial 26. Qxd2, but 26. cxd5. I played then 27. dxe6, though dxc6 was better. I saw 27. dxc6 cxd6 28. Qc4, then Qxe6, but didn’t see that I can get another pawn too. He was in the time trouble already and played on increment. Then I almost missed my advantage after 38. g3, but he made a decisive mistake by playing 38… f4. He was losing his bishop by force after that. He decided  to continue to play for some reason and we played another 30+ moves, in the end he got mated.

 

I went to the club last Monday, got the guy with about the same rating. I had White and we played Caro-Kann, here is the game. I had a feeling that I have some positional advantage though the opening.

I didn’t realize his e5 was bad, it is because after inevitable g3 and Bg5 he loses a piece after Nxg5. Nevertheless I liked that I can exchange my knight on g5 and force him to play f6. I was even thinking that was better for him to sacrifice his g5 pawn, that much I didn’t like f6.

After 31.  Nd6 he had a tough position. 33… Kg7  was a crucial mistake, I saw Rxf5 almost right away. Then he surprised me by giving up his queen for rook and knight.

After he doubled his rooks I knew I should be careful, but I also knew that I am winning. Moving b5 pawn was the easiest way to win, he eventually made a mistake and the game was over.

 

That’s what would I do (though with the different purpose than Jesus) if somebody would tell on the move 10-12 of this game that I would lose it.

I was 200+ km out of the city the day before, didn’t sleep enough, was very busy at work all Monday and didn’t prepare at all, not even warmed up. It’s not to defend my loss, but to explain why, for example, all the game I thought that I play with 1650+ rated, and after the game found he was 1855. I mixed him up with another guy.

I had White, here is the game. He played Caro-Kann, I chose Fantasy variation again.
He missed Bxf7 combination, his king lost a right to castle and I thought I got a big advantage, even bigger according to Fritz. I saw 12. Be3, but decided that I can do without Qxb2 and following complications, wrong.
Then after a few inaccurate moves I lost almost all my advantage. On move 24 I saw “removing the defender” combination and went for it. I wasn’t sure 28. Qxe5 is OK, still played it and soon started to think that I made a decisive mistake and will lose a piece.  I didn’t see any of the lines Fritz gives to prove that it was alright.
The character of the game changed after I lost the piece, though he gave me quite a few chances to almost equalize. My mood wasn’t good, I suddenly felt fatigue and I got into the time trouble, he had a few minutes more. When I had less than a 2 minutes I missed a mate in 2.