It was a 3rd round in the Mondays club. I unexpectedly got a 1281 rated young man. Before we started the game he told me that his last performance rating was 400 higher and his rating before that was about 1100. It made me play more carefully. My shape as I discovered later was not good, I was tired after Sunday’s trip.

I got White, Closed Sicilian. After the opening I started to attack on the kingside, but then didn’t see how I can advance and went for some preventive measures on the queenside.  Computer doesn’t like my 17. Bxc3 preferring Nxc3 with equality. Then I missed d5 and got into somewhat inferior position with -0.75 estimate. I didn’t want to get into a passive defense after 27. Qxc1 Rc8, then Qc7, so decided to sacrifice a pawn and try to counter-attack.

30… Nc5 was a crucial mistake. I saw 31. Nh5 of course, but then thought that after 31… Bxh5 32. Rg1+ Bg6 33. fxg6 Qe7 he is OK. But he is actually not because of 34. g7 Rb8 35. Bg4 and he has to give up his queen. So I played 31. Be2 which was missing the win because of Qe7. But he didn’t see it and made the same mistake again playing Na4. Here I decided to burn the bridges and played Rg1. I was not thinking clearly and thought that his king can escape to h8, still… Suddenly he shook my hand, resigned and said that he had to play Qe7, not Qd6. I accepted of course, but couldn’t undestand why he resigned, thinking he saw ghosts.

On my way home I analyzed the position again and started to think that maybe there was something. At home I saw of course, that escape to h8 doesn’t help – 32… Kh8 33. Nh5 Rg8 33. Rxg8+ and mate next move. The best for him was Ba2, then king could escape to f7. Still after 32… Ba2 33. Nh5+ Kf7 34. Rg7+ Ke8 35. Ra7 Nb6 36. Nf7+ Kd8 37. Rxa5 White is +4 and winning.

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It means “Success favors those who take pains”. It was 4th round in Monday’s club. I didn’t feel like I am in my best shape returning late from relatives  because of the blown tire, still decided to play. My opponent was a young guy rated 1688. I got White and played Closed Sicilian. On move 12 I didn’t like 12. fxe5 Bxe5 not seeing yet g4, so I took some risk and played f5, though computer gives a line 12. f5 gxf5 13. exf5 Nxf5 14. Rxf5 Bxf5 15. g4 which considers equal.

On move 14 I didn’t see that he can win a pawn, computer thinks it was a mistake to take it. It doesn’t like 18. Ne2 and prefers Nd5. So I am worse after 20 moves, but 22… Qb6 gave me the initiative and 23… Qa6 was a crucial mistake. After 24. Qh6 I considered a possibility of Nf5, but thought that he can just play Re8, so I found Nh5. Actually 25. Nf5 wins too after 25… Re8 26. Qh4.

So he thought for at least half an hour and found 26… f6.  I didn’t know what to choose – 27. Rg3+ or 27.Qg6+, chose the first one. Qg6+ was mate in 7. Then 29. h6 was a mistake, Rxf6 was mate in 5. He made two mistakes 31… Rxg3 and 32… Rag8, mine was drawing one 32. Rxe6.

It was a second round in Mondays club, my opponent was a young man rated 1543.  I had White and played again Closed Sicilian. Some complications arose after 12.  Nd5, computer doesn’t like his 14… Be5, preferring Qb8. Move 20. g4 was apparently not the best, better was h4 with following Bh3 and exchanging the bishops.  It allowed White to attack h6 and f7 squares.

Around move 25 I had a feeling that I have a good pressure and spent quite some time looking for the best continuation. His 27… Qc5 was a crucial mistake, he tried to avoid pin, but his queen stopped defending the king. The intention of 29. Qf3 was to sacrifice an exchange on e6.

Suddenly he sacrificed exchange himself. I considered quickly taking the rook, didn’t like it and decided to continue with my plan. So I took on e6. When he played fxe6, it became clear that he is in trouble. He resigned after my 32. Qxe6. Computer found here mate in 10: 32…. Kg7 33. Qg6 Kh8 34. Qxh6 Kg8 35. Qe6+ Kh8 36. Qe8+ Kh7 37. exd5 Qd6 38. Be4+ Kg7 39. Kg3 Nd4 40. h6+ Kxh6 41. Qh5+ Kg7 42. Qh7#. Interesting that all the pieces and two pawns that were attacking the king take part in this mate.

By the way taking his rook was winning too. After 30. exd5 Qxd5 31. Rg6+ mates in 5 and after 30… Bxd5 31. Qf5 White wins.

These games were played in two different clubs, both with lower rated opponents. It was an attempt to refresh my opening repertoire.

Game 1 – it was a second round in Mondays club, my opponent was a young man rated 1527.  It was an equal position after the opening, then his 14… Nh5 was a mistake and I got an advantage after f4. Then again 18… f6 wasn’t the best move, f5 was better.

I continued to attack the f6 pawn and under the pressure he played f5. I spent quite some time on my next 2 moves – 23. Ne7 and 24. Qg5. Computer thinks that Black would be OK after 26… Rxf2+ instead of exd3, which was a crucial mistake.

I saw mate in 5 if after 27. Rxf8+ he takes with a rook and he played exactly that, 27… Nxf8 loses as well after 28. Nf7+ Kg8 29. Nh6+ Kg7 30. Rf7+ Kh8 31. Qf6#.

Game 2 –  it was a first round in Thursdays club, I got a young man rated 1172. I missed playing f5 on move 14. On move 20 I decided to play Nxd5, which I considered earlier, now I could get 3 pawns for a knight. Interesting that computer thinks I shouldn’t have taken the third pawn and wants to leave the bishop on the main diagonal. After he took on a6 with the queen I was able to play d5 and d6. He miscalculated when played 26… Nc4 and the rest of the game was a matter of technique.

It was a 5th round in the Monday’s club, my opponent was a young man rated 2170. I lost a few games to him before playing Sicilian Bb5 and drew one with Closed Sicilian, so I decided to play it again. I was good after the opening, then I thought that I should play actively.

So after his 15… Nc4 I didn’t play Bc1 because I saw 16. Nxd5. I calculated that I win a pawn if he plays Nxd5, the same if 16… Nxe3 17. Nxe3 Bxd4 18. c3. I also saw Nxb2, but thought that it will be at least equal after that. After he took on b2 I realized that he attacks my rook and I lose material, so started to think what to do and calculated next 3 moves that happened in the game. After initial shock I thought that I have some compensation because my pieces were very active, computer confirms it giving him just 0.5. Then he started to execute a plan with moving the pawns on the queenside.

I could resist by playing 35. Rc8, but I didn’t consider it. My position was getting worse and worse, g4 was played out of desperation and soon I resigned.

 

I played in the club in the new tournament. My opponent was an expert I played before, lost to him in Rossolimo. I had White again and decided to change decorations, so for the first time I played Closed Sicilian, here is the game.

I think I was OK after the opening, maybe Na4 wasn’t the best, Nd1 just looked passive.  Then I started to attack on the kingside by moving pawn “h”, he got some initiative on the queenside. I had to play a3 instead of Bf4, it would make my life easier later. I noticed it only after the move and then he played Qc7.

His g5 advance was very provoking. After 23… e5 I got afraid that I will be simply strangled after g4 and decided to sacrifice on g5. His Bh3 answer I think was the best and here I screwed up. I saw Bxf6 and Qh6 with double attack, but for some reason – or I didn’t see that after 25. Bxf6 Bxf6 26. Qh6 Bxf1 27. Qxf6 Bh3 I get the bishop back after a couple of checks or it was something else – I don’t remember,  I played 25. Re1. There was a perpetual and it was gone. He pointed to that line after the game. Interesting that attempt to catch the bishop after g4 ends very bad for White.

It was going only downhill after that, he defended very well and I was “shot down in flames”.  I was and still is really upset, one more time at the critical moment I didn’t see and calculate deep enough.