It just so happened that I played twice this variation of Scotch Gambit this week. Lately I started to understand the ideas for Black, before I didn’t feel comfortable meeting this line.

Game 1 – I finished my work at 6pm after being stressed the whole day and managed to get on time to the club. My opponent was a boy rated 1632, it is a last round of Mondays tournament. On move 14 I played stopping f5. Then I played 18… c5 and after 19… Bc6 started to feel good about the position. I thought on move 20 almost 30 minutes about d4 and didn’t play it. Then my 24… d4 finally followed, but his 25. Bf6 forced me to reevaluate the position.

I decided to sacrifice an exchange, seeing that it deflects any attack on the kingside and my bishops are very strong. At home I was surprised that computer evaluated my sacrifice only as -0.22, but even more surprising was that I was winning after 25… dxc3! 26. Rxd7 Qxd7 27. bxc3 Qd1 28. Ne1 Rf7 with White pieces completely out of play and -5.00 estimate.

Anyway the initiative was on my side. His 30. b4 wasn’t a good move, then after 30… Qe6 I expected 30. Re1. He played Rg1? and I got an idea of attacking his g2 square. My 31… Re2 was a right move, it is actually -5.70. I saw possible 32. Nxe4, but didn’t like exchanging the queens and going into endgame, so I decided to reply Qe4 to any of his moves, keeping the attack. He played 32. Nxd4 happily saying something, I quickly replied 32. Qe4 and suddenly to my horror he just took my rook. I realized that I blundered, my emotional state finally showed.

Then forced queens exchange followed and after resisting for 10 more moves I resigned. I was very upset, I got even more upset when at home computer told me that after 32…Rxd2 he was either mated – 33. Nxe6 Bxg2+! 34. Rxg2 Rd1+ 35. Rg1 Rxg1# or was losing the queen.

Game 2 – I had a quiet day at work, had to spend almost hour and 30 minutes to get to the club because of the rain. My was opponent was the same boy as year ago in the same round of the same tournament. He played Scotch Gambit then and I won in d6 line. Now it was Dubois-Reti variation. He played pretty confidently, but his 13. Nc3 looked suspicious. Then I found a right moment to play f6. Computer thinks he had to play 21. exf6 with an equal position, after 22. Rfe1 I got an advantage. But my 23… Rf5 was’n the best move, 23… Rf2 24. Rac1 Rf4 25. Nd3 Rc4 was better. Then I saw 24… c5, but after some consideration decided not to play it.

His 28. Rab1 only looked good, computer recommends 28… Ke7 with -1.20 evaluation. But I decided to play 28… d4, it gave up all the advantage. We exchanged the rooks, then after his 35. Na6 I found defensive Bf7. To my surprise he decided to take on c7, I knew it was losing. He found a trick to save the knight, but the pawn endgame was lost for him of course. After some resistance he resigned.

 

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I realized almost right away that my opponent will  not come,  eventually I got paired with another one, girl 14 years old. She is from Colombia, her FIDE rating is 1900+, CFC provisional rating was the same, but dropped to 1711 after not successful play in Canadian Open. Her father is a master.

I got Black and as with her brother, with whom I played about 3 months ago, we got Scotch Gambit again, the same Dubois-Reti defense ( 4… Nf6) and almost the same line, here is the game.

Things went well in the first game. But there was a difference in the class,  she didn’t take my knight on g5, as her brother and it made my defense more difficult. I had to play 12… Ne4, but I thought about Nd2 exchanging my knight and then f5 and e6, though I would have enough time to play c5. The last chance to stay equal was to play 13… Ng5, not allowing Bh6 in the future. I was too optimistic about taking on f6, expecting only 15… gxf6 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. dxc5.  I realized right away after Bh6 that things are bad.

She was playing embarrassingly fast, I had 30 minutes less. Fritz says 20. Be6 was too passive. Interesting, that I thought that Bg6, Qf5 will provide enough defense and in the end even started to think that I have a chance to win.  She even slowed down. Then suddenly she took on h7. I completely didn’t see it. Funny, that I looked all the time at Qxh7, but only with the purpose of rook mating on h7. Yes, mate with a knight was a pattern that I didn’t know, too bad I had to learn it this way.

My rating after 3 losses in this tournament will go down by about 45 points, it’s a 3/4 of what I earned at Canadian Open (in 9 games!) . It’s almost like I wish I wouldn’t  play, but the only way to learn is to play, not to sit and look at your past success.