I played this Sunday the last game of the tournament.  My opponent was the guy I knew, had 2 hard fought draws with him, rating 50 lower than mine. He started with 1. e4 and after 1… e5 2. Nf3 I knew he will play Scotch game (saw his games on the Web).  I never played “rated” Scotch before. I didn’t quite like the positions I got online few times and didn’t want to play opening that somebody obviously knows better than me, so I decided to change decorations.

What about Petrov defense  ( also called Petroff defense, in Russia it was Russian game)  2… Nf6?  I knew first few moves, hoped he knows no more than that (that was right assumption), also knew it was Kramnik’s weapon.  Later I learned his statistics with Black:

+5 – 11 = 64 – 46.25%

This is higher than average in DB ( 40-43%), and 80% draws!

After several moves the position was symmetrical, boring and drawish.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d3 ( French Attack) Nf6 6. Nc3 Be7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. h3 d5 10. d4 Re8

I remembered all bad play in this tournament and realized why GMs after that just make a draw in the next round. If he would offer it, I would agree right away.  But then situation suddenly changed.

11. Bb5 h6 This is the move I didn’t like after the game, allows Ne5. 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Ne5 ( now it doesn’t have the same effect as before ) Bb7 14. a3 c5

15. f4 cxd4 16. Qxd4 c5

After double c5, like after double shot of … ( whatever you drink ) the blood started to run faster in my veins.  17. Qf2 d4

18. Ne2 Ne4 19. Qe1 Bh4. Bishops are becoming very dangerous.

20. Qd1 Qd5 21. c4 Qe6 22. Qb3 Rab8 23. Qa4

( Crafty found 23.  … d3 24. Nxd3 Nd2 25. Bxd2 Qxe2 26. Nf2  Qxd2 27. Qxa7 Qxf4 28. Rad1 Qg3 29. Rd5 Re2 30. Qxc5 where White wins the piece for 2 pawns ).

23. .. a6 24. Qd7

loses the game –  24. … Qxd7 25. Nxd7 Rbd8 26. Ne5 d3

White resigned ( 27. Nc3 d2 ).

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As my very favorite AC/DC say:

“Kicked in the teeth again
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win
Kicked in the teeth again
Ain’t this misery ever gonna end?”

This is exactly what’s happening with the tournament I am playing in (except second “sometimes”). This Sunday I played and guess who was my opponent?
The son of the guy I played with a week before ( see my previous post ).
Of course, I was White again and of course, he played Scandinavian defense.
What I thought when I was accepting the same freaking Portuguese variation ?
First – I got some knowledge about that during the week
second – he shouldn’t be as experienced as his father.

Maybe he isn’t, but his rating is 160 points higher. Anyway, I didn’t get into that kind of trouble as last time. I successfully avoided king-side attack and even had euphoria about getting 2 bishops, but then I got into different trouble, my queen-side lagging in development. It was another theoretical move, that I didn’t know.
I heroically struggled, again spending a lot of time.
It reminded me later my former countryman – GM Kramnik, getting into prepared novelties in the same variation twice in the current match with Anand. Finally almost everything was exchanged except R+B vs. R+N and pawns. And here I made a mistake and lost a pawn, but recovered after that, winning his pawn and finally getting into B vs. N with a passed pawn on king-side and 2P vs 3P on queen-side.
The hope returned, but I had only 5 minutes left. I made a move advancing the pawn and setting a trap, he didn’t bite, played another move ( which I didn’t see ) and I lost my pawn.
I think, I could draw even then, but time was going and having less than 90 seconds on the clock I missed a fork. I would probably lose by time anyway, he had a huge advantage here.

Probably I made a mistake by completely stopping my blitz activities on FICS and got out of shape, but most importantly, I realized again that my endgame technique is not acceptable. If you know how to play, you can play fast and you can win.
I found a very similar endgame by Capablanca-Corzo, 1901, pretty famous and another B vs. N endgame by Kramnik. I swore, that I will memorize at least the first one, all 59 moves, though it wouldn’t be as easy as many years ago.