Yesterday I got that boy that I played against twice recently.  I decided to play French again, I thought I can improve on my first game 5 months ago. We played the same variation, Milner-Barry, this time he offered a pawn, I didn’t want to suffer for that and declined, just exchanging his bishop. Here is the game. I remembered that I was too slow and not careful on the queenside and tried to fix it. I have to say that I did it quite well, getting nice post on b4 for my knight and stopping all  possible threats on the kingside.

He started to play passively after that and I occupied “c” line with my rooks. He spent an awful  amount of time by move 20,  having about 30 minutes left vs. my 1 hour. It got even worse later. After 27… Qc8 I missed the move that would probably win the game quickly – 28… Nc2. Then I was trying to find a decisive blow and couldn’t. Fritz showed a nice way to win an “a” pawn with 33… Qe8.

His time trouble deepened, I remember having 45 minutes vs. his 4.5. He started to play faster. We went into the endgame, where I thought I would have some advantage due to his weak pawn d4. I could win his rook after 55… Rd2, but missed it having already a few minutes left myself . He had  20-30 seconds when he made decisive mistake allowing (actually forcing) bishops exchange, after which I got 2 connected passed pawns in the center. The rest was technique. He managed to make a few moves when his clock was showing 2 seconds and it didn’t change! I was astounded by that but continued to move quickly having less than 2 minutes myself. When his clock showed 1 second left I mated him with 2 pawns, king and a rook.

I was (and still is) very satisfied with my positional play, it was probably my best French game with Black from this point of view.

Yes, I couldn’t find the decisive strike, at least I tried.

I played yesterday in the club, my opponent was 10-year old boy. I knew him  a bit, he played with my kid a few years ago. I was Black, knew that he plays some kind of aggressive Italian game  (I don’t like this opening), also having lost 2 last games with 1… e5 I decided to change decorations and play French, here is the game.

I got Advance variation and until move 12 played well, getting rid of his “good” white-colored bishop. Then I also decided to get rid of my bad bishop and it wasn’t a good idea, I lost my advantage.Then I played 16… a5, a prophylactic move against b4, which could cause me problems I thought. I saw Qb5 right after I played a5 and I knew that I will lose a pawn. The consequences were worse than that, I eventually lost  a piece for a pawn. I got angry and decided to fight until the end, noticing that he got behind in time. It looked like he didn’t have a plan how to win, at the same time spending more time than me on every move. Then he missed a threat and lost a passed pawn. It calmed me down a bit, I realized that with me having passed pawn and all his pawns on the kingside he will have to spend essential time to win. It was his 10 minutes vs. my 20 and he played Rg8. First I wanted to defend my g7 pawn and play Nf6, but something was wrong. I especially had my rook on the first line to harass the bishop. So suddenly I saw that bishop was left unprotected… After  a few moves he offered me a draw.  Having a spare passed pawn and twice more time I refused. I manuevered, he didn’t go for the knights exchange (I couldn’t advance my pawn without it), then he missed a simple combo. That was it, though he resisted until got mated with queen and knight, I stopped writing the moves when my time got under 5 minutes. I praised him, of course, then talked to his parents in Russian. I said that he played very well unless he blundered in time pressure.They said, that he gets sometimes in time trouble in 90/G format, plays worse and loses games. Recently, they said, he got 3-rd place in U2100 section of 2/30, SD/1 tournament. It explained something. I told them that he should play blitz, but they said no. Maybe they are afraid that he will get a habit to play “not deep”.

Later I realized, that there were 2 parts in this game. In the first part I screwed up the end of the opening and the middlegame, not feeling the position, so not seeing the right moves. He played very well, calculating like a pro.Then in the endgame, under time pressure, he played essentially worse, making 3 mistakes, 2 of them crucial. I played well, finding resources to resist and using tactical possibilities that he gave me (winning a pawn and a knight). My rich blitz experience paid off.