My opponent in that round was as expected, a boy I lost to a few times, last time about two weeks ago. I seriously wanted to change that. I prepared for the Scotch Gambit, but he suddenly played Giuoco Piano, then still sacrificed a pawn. I knew that I have to take with a bishop, I played this line at 2011 Canadian Open against ~2200 rated and drew after giving up the pawn back at one moment and getting a good position.

His 11. fxe5 was definitely a mistake, instead 11. Nc3 a6 12. fxe5 Nd7 was equal. His 17. b4 wasn’t a good move, I was gradually increasing my advantage. Then came a crucial moment of the game. I have to mention that after the game one boy came to my opponent and said something like “after Rd7 you missed…”.

At home I found out what he meant. After I played 20… Rd7? he could play 21. Nd6! and after exd6 the pawn takes with a check at the same time leaving the rook on h8 under attack. I saw Nd6 , but didn’t find anything suspicious. So I would have to play 21… Bd5 and after the following 22. Rxf7+ Kd8 23. Rxd7+ Kxd7 24. Nxe4 Bxe4 25. Bxb6+ Kc8 26. Bxa7 Bxc2 27. Rc1 Be4 computer evaluates it as +0.24. Luckily he didn’t see it.

Then I was able to use his weaknesses and win another pawn. Another crucial moment was when I played 38… Be4, computer thinks that I had to take on a2 and that my advantage could go down to -0.82 after 39. Nd3, but he played 39 . Kf6 and it was a bad move losing pawn on g3. Then my passed “g” pawn decided the game.

 

 

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It was Thursday’s club, my opponent was a boy rated 1443. He played an Italian Game, the line that I played about a dozen times.

15… Bd5 was a move that I liked, also it was provoking 16. Nc5 and I calculated the consequences of that. He played it and then made a mistake. 20… f5 seemed a bit sharp, but I didn’t like that bishop and it is actually a computer move. 24… Ng6 was giving me a decisive advantage, I played it 2 moves later.

On move 29 I missed a possibility to counterattack with 29… Nh4 30. Qd3 Qf7 31. Kf1 Qg6, I was probably still concentrated on defense. 33. Qxf5 was a crucial mistake, after 34… Nh4+ he resigned.

My opponent in that round was as expected a high school boy to whom I lost 5 months ago when he swindled the game. In this game I had Black, he played Giuoco Piano.  I was surprised when he took on d5 by the pawn and definitely liked my position after a dozen of moves.

He told me after the game that he thought about 17. f4, but couldn’t make it working and it doesn’t. Soon I got a pretty clear idea how to attack on the kingside. As it showed later, his queen’s placement was wrong, f2 square belonged to the rook.

On move 23 while planning Rg3 I suddenly realized that I already can sacrifice my bishop on h3, but after some thinking decided that it would only give me material advantage, while Rg3 had some chances for a mate. In reality it had the same aftermath.

So after 24. Qg1 I saw that I am winning his queen and played Bxh3. Then I played carefully trying not to give him any chances and to increase my advantage as well. After 38 moves the position looked like I have a clear win, in a few moves he resigned.

I told him after the game about the different roles that our light-squared bishops played and he agreed.

It was a second round of Mondays club tournament.  My opponent was 1307 rated guy, I had Black. He played Italian game, the line where I remembered I have to take on c3 with a bishop.

The mainline is 9. d5 Bf6 10. Re1 Ne7 11. Rxe4, but he played 9. bxc3.  I had a feeling that he had a compensation for the pawn, computer evaluates the position as equal.  Then I unintentionally gave the pawn back, though it is actually a computer move. I considered 22… Rxe3, but then decided to keep rooks. It became easier to play, I maneuvered and waited.

Then his 30. Qe6 allowed me to play 31… Qc2. 32… Qxa4 was an option, but I didn’t want my queen to be too far from the theater of war. He didn’t play the best moves and his position deteriorated. I thought that I have to keep f5 square under control to avoid perpetual, but didn’t see that after 40… Qxd4 41. Qf5+ g6 42. Qf7+ Black had Qg7.

By move 48 I felt that I am stuck with that perpetual threat and played 48… c5. It unbalanced the position, he got into a time trouble, allowed my Qf5  and resigned.

This quote belongs to Pal Benko. It was a first round, I got the guy whom I defeated a few times lately. He played Giuoco Piano. I managed to get two bishops and then got a typical f5 attack.

It was developing smoothly until I felt uncomfortable after his 20. Rg3, computer recommends 19… Qe8 instead of a6. Computer doesn’t like his 21. Qh5 and offers 21… Rf4. His 30. g4 was not a bad move after which found myself with nothing on the kingside. So I looked at the other side of the board. Then he made a mistake playing 35. Qc2 and I won a pawn. I felt comfortable after queens exchange, suddenly he blundered another pawn. As soon as he played 43… Rf4 I knew that the pawn endgame should be won for me, computer supports that.

I hesitated to play 49… d5 because of 50. c5, I knew that I will have to give up the “d” pawn, but couldn’t see that it was winning. By the way 49… c5 was winning too, I didn’t even consider that move. So I decided not to hurry and moved my king to the queenside. Of course there was a winning move 59… Kb4, but having less than 7 minutes left I couldn’t calmly calculate, just saw that exchange in the center and sacrificing the “a” pawn should win. That was exactly what happened.

It was a first round in the Thursday’s club. Due to the changes in the rules I played in the middle section. I had Black and we played Giuoco Piano. My plan after the opening was defined by the exchange on e6.

25. Rd2 was a big mistake. I saw that it was lost for White after 27… Nxh3+, taking on f2 with check after Kg2 or Kh1 and leaving his queen without defense.

It was fifth round in the Thursday’s club. I got Black again and played a boy, never played him before. We played Italian Game. I had an advantage in the opening and missed 16… b4!

Then he got a “Ruy Lopez” style attack on the kingside. I was holding up until I played Bxf5, Be6 was better. Computer criticizes my 34… Qd3, saying that Bh6 was much better. I thought that it was the only way to save the pawn on c4, but after 35. Nxc4 Nxc4 36. Bxc4 Qd2 37. Qf3 Black can force queens exchange with a transition into an opposite-colored bishops endgame.

After he played 36. Bd5 I thought that my days are numbered and made a desperate attempt to survive by playing 38… Bxe3 and 39… f5. He made two mistakes in a row – 40. Kd2 and 41. Bxe4. After he played 41. Bxe4 I saw that I can play Nb2+ and if he takes the pawn then after Nc5 he loses the bishop. The only way to keep advantage after 40… fxe4 was to play 41. Ke1, then after 41… Kf6 42. Bxe4 Nc4 43. Bxd3 Nxe3 he was still up a pawn.

So after his last inaccuracy – 44. g4, we reached a completely drawn position. When he realized that, we agreed to a draw.