It was a first round in the first tournament of the season , because of the problem during registering I was manually paired with my friend rated 1518.  We had 6 draws in the past, his rating dropped lately. He played English Opening, I replied with c6.  His 15. f3 was slow, I expected e4. His 18. Bh3 looked strange, 18… Ne8 (with the idea of Ne8-Nd6-Nc4) was better than my 18… Rc7.

After his 20. g4 I evaluated the position and decided that knight on f6 and bishop moved to f8 could hold it. So I continued my initiative on the queenside. Instead of his 24. Rc2 computer offers 24. fxe6 Nxb2 25. exf7+ Kf8 26. Qg6 b4 27. Rf2 bxc3 28. Rg2 Ng4 29. Qh7 Bf6 30. Bxg4, with some attack (for the knight for two pawns) with -1.5 estimate.

Then I found 24… e5, I thought it was stopping completely his attack. He had to play 25. dxe5 Nxe5 26. Qd4, still after queens exchange Black was better. After 25. Bc1 his position continued to deteriorate and he resigned after 35. Rxh3.

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It was a third round in the Monday’s club, I played the guy who also was at the top of our section. My opponent’s choice to play English Opening was unexpected. A few years ago I would reply with Anglo-Gruenfeld, but I didn’t remember the lines, so played e5. I probably gave him too much space on the queenside, 13… Na5 wasn’t the best move, Nd8 was better.

23… g5 seemed risky to me, but I didn’t want him to have the “e” vertical after 23… f4. Computer suggests playing 33… a4 with the following a6 instead of 33… Qf6, with the idea of opening a “b” line for my rook.

Soon I got worse, also low on time and made a crucial mistake by playing 42… gxf4. I missed that he can take with a knight, creating a threat of fork on e6. Though I flagged in a few moves, it was completely lost.

 

 

 

It’s a long time since I played against English. So, I got it on Thursday, here is the game. I was OK after the opening, then my 22… Ra7 was a mistake, I didn’t like my rook standing on h1-a8 diagonal, but even Ra6 was better. He didn’t find the best moves and then made a crucial mistake with 33. Qf3. Of course, I considered 33… Rc3 and saw that I win  a rook, but I thought that I can’t stop the “d” pawn from queening after that. Houdini showed me that I could. It was my chance to win the game. Instead of it I made a losing move, but he didn’t see Rc1.

My decisive mistake was 39… Ra3,  I had about 5 minutes left at this time. Keeping the mate threat on g2 was a key to this position. I saw that Nxf6 was losing, my answer was losing as well.