It was a first round of a new tournament. My opponent was a man rated 1473, he played French Defense. After exchange on c6 I started to feel good about this game.

After his 11… f5 I thought right away that it created a weakness on e6. I laid siege to it, then played c4 and soon d5. He made a big mistake by playing 25… Rfe7 instead of g6. Then I missed 35. Bh5 and played much weaker Bc2. Anyway his reply 35… Qe7 was a decisive mistake.

The situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that I had a minute and a half  and he had a minute left. I managed to stay cool, all I had to see was a threat on the a8-h1 diagonal.

The most interesting in that game was a line behind the scenes, a really nice combination. It was a first round in a new season. I was afraid to get a 1-point bye and also didn’t feel quite in shape, so registered in the U1800 section. But they misplaced my registration, I wasn’t paired, so eventually I was paired manually with a guy from the top section. I played him before and had a positive score.

So I got White,  he played French defense. Right away I didn’t like his f6 and after his 8… f5 Houdini thinks that he is -3. I considered 9. Ng5, but thought that after h6 will have to go to h3. But instead of Nh3 computer suggests Nf7!. After 10… Kxf7 11. Ne5+ Kf8 12. Qh5 Qe8 13. Ng6+ Kf7 14. Nh8+ Kf8 15. Ng6+ Kf7 16. Bxf5 exf5 17. Nxe7+ Kf8 18. Qxe8+ Kxe8 19. Nxf8 White is up a rook.

But I went to Ng3 and just continued to increase the pressure. On move 11 he missed my strike on f5 and lost a pawn. After I won another two pawns it became a matter of technique. In the pawn ending I didn’t realize until the end of the game that I could penetrate with my king through h4 with a fast win, but the way I choose wasn’t too much longer anyway.



I came to the club last Thursday and got the master,  guy at the top, meaning playing on the first board. It was kind of weird to play at the separate table standing aside, but I got used to it. I had a loss against him, in French Tarrasch, Be7 line.

We got it again, here is the game. I decided to play 4.Bb5+, actually this move was played only once. The idea was to get his bishop on the bad square, like in Scandinavian. It kind of threw him out of book, I think.  After the opening I realized that my position is quite good.  He decided to exchange some pieces, probably seeing that there were no advantage in the heavy middlegame.

I liked a plan with f4, g4, f5 attack and executed it, though it didn’t give me much. Then he made a move Fritz doesn’t like  – 47… Ke7. I missed 48. Rb7 and then, after a few moves – 50. Rg7.  Funny that he can’t take on b2 because of the mate. He already didn’t have much time at that moment, so it was definitely worth to try. I get about +1 after this move anyway.

Then he got down to less than a minute with me having about twenty. I offered him a draw after we got into a rook endgame, but he refused. I didn’t want to give him any winning chances and didn’t let to take on b2. Then I decided to get rid of his pawns on the kingside, I didn’t like them all the time thinking he can get a passed pawn. The position became really simple after that and when he offered a draw I agreed. Fritz considers the position equal.

It was a strange French, with a twist and the game had a twist too. My opponent was a young guy,  I lost to him before once in the team blitz tournament.  I had White, here is the game.

I was a bit better after the opening, but his 15… Bc5 equalized the game. It was pretty quiet until I played 27. e4. His Qg3 was a mistake. I calculated Rxd5 and decided that if he plays Rf2 I have Re8 and I should get a least  perpetual. It was actually only if he would play 30… Kf7 and I will answer Qe8+. The thing is Qh5 was winning. So, he went for Rf2 and then Kh7.

I saw Qg6 and after some pause realized that I am winning here after Rh8. He resigned after that.

I just played in Labour Day Open, on the long weekend, in U1900 section.

Round 1.  I had White and he played French, here is the game. I didn’t feel fresh after a very busy day before, though I slept enough. I played 12. Be3 which is 11-th choice in DB and it showed. Then I missed his Ng4, forgetting that rook after that also attacks f4 and had to give him two bishops. It was still pretty equal play until I lost a pawn.

I tried to hold the position and missed 3-fold repetition, computer told me about it at home. It was still very much defensible position when I made a decisive mistake playing Rd5. He used it and just after 10 moves I resigned.

Round 2. I get some rest, food and most important coke. My opponent plays Ruy Lopez.  I decide not to look for adventures and just play Chigorin variation, here is the game.

I don’t like his 19. Rb1 and play d5. The play opens, my pieces are better placed and he gets in trouble. After 24.Rd8 he misses the chance to save his piece and the game is practically over. Later I also miss a few forced mates, but after queens exchange he resigns ( a few moves after what I show, I just messed up the recording).

Round 3. My opponent is a man I played before and have with him a positive balance – 2:0 I think. I remember I won in Rossolimo variation last time, here it is again. I don’t like his 8… Ng8. After 11…O-O I see that Nb3 creates problems for him, though I also see f6. But he plays it only on the next move. Computer prefers 12. Qe3. Then I decide to play e6, since exf6 gives too much to him. I think I made a blunder with Rb1 (Qa5), but computer likes the arising position and says I am good. My knight on c5 looks really strong and eventually he decides to exchange it.

After a several more moves in a position that is clearly better for me (~+2.3) he suddenly resigns.

Round 4. I play with the highest rated guy in our section.  I have Black, Italian game. When I play Bf5, I see  that he can take on e7, but think that after Bxd3 he gets nothing. After Rae1 I realize that I am wrong.

Then 16… Nd5 gets me in more trouble. I find 17… Nf4 and he doesn’t see g3, which I see. I start to feel some ground under my feet and now I am missing chances not playing 19… Nd3 or 23… Nf4. I feel it, but do not fully realize how strong are my knight and bishop. The position becomes equal, but he has not much time left for making 30 moves before  the first control. He passes it, but maybe because he is still keeping some tempo or fatigue strikes him he starts to make bad moves. Then finally he plays Kg1  and I notice that his back rank is not defended. I attack his knight on b6, his Ne5 can’t save it and he gives up an exchange. I still have to demonstrate some technique against his well interacting  two knights, but exchange is exchange…

Round 5. I have White and play my favorite Rossolimo, here is the game. He plays well in the opening and neutralizes all my attempts to get attack on the kingside.

We  move into endgame, which I consider equal. He tries to get an advantage and eventually I make a bad move – bxa4 instead of b4 with a draw. I feel that I am in trouble. Suddenly I see that I can play Nd5. After he takes the knight, I think that I have a chance to win thanks to the remote passed pawn. The funny thing is it’s not a winning, but rather losing move. The game gets crazy. He misses some chances and then I do the same, missing a win twice. The game ends up in a draw.


Two in one – so two games in one post. First I played on Monday last week, second – this Monday. Both my opponents were not very happy to get me since they know I am better than my current rating, which is basically the same as theirs, also I won against them lately.

Game 1. I have White, French. Nothing unusual, then I miss an opportunity to win a pawn after Nxd7. I think a lot on move 23, still don’t play superior 23. Bxb5 Qxb5 24. Qxg7 because of Bg5 – not seeing excellent reply 25. Rf3.
So, it’s going to be a boring endgame and here he plays sharp 24… Bg5.
I accept it as a challenge and after some thinking decide to take on e6.
His sudden 26… Qe2 looks really scary and at some moment I think: “Am I going to lose this game?”, but then decide “what the hell, I’ll just do my best to defend …”. Things eventually look not so bad and then I get a golden opportunity with 29. Qe4, which this time I don’t miss.
I play Nc5, Nd3, then I see e6 with following Qd6. I get a huge advantage, he is forced to give up a piece and soon he resigns.

Game 2. I play Black, Ruy Lopez. I manage to get more active position and then I see a tactical opportunity with 15… e4.
Fritz doesn’t think much of it and prefers another move, but I would still play this one.
It leaves me with a passed pawn and him with a bad pawn structure and a bad bishop.
After 16… Bxb2 17. Ra2 I see that I have to play Bc3 and hate his Bd2 with him capturing “d” line, but then find Qf6, Fritz’s move.
He offers queens exchange after which vertical “d” is mine and the game starts to go one way. He doesn’t help himself with his kingside play. After 36… Ke5 I think about moving my king to d4 and suddenly he blunders with f4.
He probably saw that I can’t take on e4 because of the pin, but forgot that I can take on f4 with a rook. He resigns right away.

Sounds strange, right? You will see. I played on Monday, my opponent was former Canadian women’s champion (twice), WIM.  I know her well,  she taught my kids.

I had White, here is the game. She played French, her favorite, I went for Tarrasch, that’s what I play against French. We went along main line and then on move 10 she played second choice move I wasn’t familiar with. The line ended up with a move 14. O-O (though Fritz says 17. Nf3 was the last book move) that lead to a draw between 2 experts, so I guess I was OK after the opening.

My troubles started I think after 15. Ng3, when I didn’t find Be3. I have to say that all the time I was worried about exchange sacrifice on f3 which never happened (maybe exactly for the same reason). Fritz didn’t like my next 2 moves, anyway I found myself on the defensive side, not being able to get any active play.

Now if we return to the title of the post – she was in a such time trouble all the time that I saw probably just once in my life when the guy didn’t make his 30th move in time. After 20-something moves I had 1 hour left, she – 30 minutes. She was thinking heavily on every move. Her attack was becoming more and more aggressive, and her time was shrinking, it was 15 vs 45, 10 vs 35, 5 vs 30,…. I was sure that she will lose on time and because of the following:

– in the beginning my clock probably stopped a few times (when I noticed it once I  restarted it, maybe in total it was 6-8 minutes)

–  I didn’t feel comfortable winning on time sitting under attack and being worse, it was like I didn’t deserve it

– there was a slight chance of getting mated

I thought about offering a draw. When the flag started to go up (I don’t know how much time it is, maybe 2 minutes, I hate these old clocks), it was around move 30, maybe earlier, just before queens exchange, not sure, I offered a draw. You know – she refused! I said – OK.

She started to play faster, still writing the moves in my time. The attack continued, with all her pieces targeting my king. My last chance was, I think, nice 35. Ba2 found by Fritz. Eventually I got under the pin and then she also created a threat of Rxg2 – the mill. She was still somehow finding good moves, I couldn’t understand how. I didn’t see how I could defend, seeing Rxc6, of course, but thinking that after that I will also lose a pinned knight. I played Kh2,  Fritz found a better line, losing an exchange, anyway it was bad.   After that I still had a little hope that I will escape on time, but not so. It was a matter of technique. My time also went down and I stopped writing the moves being under 5 minutes.

Her flag was in 9-o-clock position when I resigned being one move away from checkmate. That was highest level of play in very limited time I ever encountered playing OTB.