This is what I told the president of the club after I finished this game.  My opponent was a young guy, I lost to him once before playing  against his Modern defense. I have a score -3 in it and -2 in Pirc,  so definitely there are some things …

So I decided to do something else and played 1. d4, for the first time in the last 3 years I think, here is the game. He still made Modern defense out of it, but I felt comfortable in the opening. Then on the move 12 he played g5. I thought that Nf3, g4 is not good for me and decided to sacrifice a pawn. Houdini supports Nf5 and thinks it is sound. I quickly started to gain advantage and he spent a lot of time on his moves. I thought a lot after his 19… Qe6 on 20. Re1, but wasn’t sure that after 20… Qxc4 21. gxh6 Bxd4 I have enough compensation for two pawns.

His 23… Bxf4 was not good, exchanging the important defender. It’s too bad I didn’t see 25.  Rh4+ Kg7 26.  Rg1, winning on the spot. Then not the best moves were played from the both sides. I still continued my attack and then the critical moment came when I played 37. b4. I didn’t see the best Na4 and the move Be6, that I also looked at and considered after the game the better one, keeping all the advantage, worth only 0.4.

After 37. b4 I saw right away that I blundered the knight on c3.  It was a shock, though I still had some attack. The funny thing is that after he takes the knight he loses by force after 39. Rxc5!, so it wasn’t a blunder at all. Anyway, the game continued and he decided to give up his rook for my c6 pawn. I didn’t play well after that, one reason was that my time was running up, it was about 5 minutes left.  With 4 minutes left I stopped writing the moves, he had about a minute. I lost material and found myself in a losing position. Having, I think, something like 28 seconds left (with me having more than 2 minutes) he went for three-fold repetition. I was actually glad at this moment. Then I came home and computer told me, how exactly I managed not to win the game, that was won. I knew that I was winning, just didn’t know how close I was to it.

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I played on Thursday with the guy, who had a strong attack in a game with me, but couldn’t finish it and I won after counterattack: https://rollingpawns.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/under-siege/ ‎

This time it was reversed scenario. I had White, it was a Modern defense which transformed into some kind of Sicilian Dragon, here is the game. I finally managed to play a long planned f4 on move 25, didn’t like his f5, though Fritz says it’s OK, but his next move – Kf7 was really bad. I saw that after exchanges on f5 his kingside will not look good. Then after 31. Qh5 the game was in my hands.

I thought that there is something better than Qxf5, that his king will be smothered in the corner after Rg8, something like that.
Then it was another obvious move – Nxe7, but it seems me I thought that after Nxe7 Qxe7 I’ll let his pieces to defend 7th horizontal, and then I just thought that I will lose a piece after Re8, not seeing that rook on g3 defends it.
Instead of that I played Re3, to defend ?? the bishop and right away to my horror I saw the discovered attack – Bf6. He looked and looked and didn’t see it. After his Rcf8 I quickly played Qh5, though I could still take on e7.

It was a critical point, after that I didn’t see how I can attack and my play went downhill. He counterattacked in the center, then forced queens exchange. I didn’t find the best defense and lost a pawn, and then underestimating his passed pawn forced bishops exchange and went into a bad rook endgame.
He didn’t play precisely and I missed a couple of chances to get a draw, I didn’t have much time at that moment. I stopped writing the moves, but he just won both my pawns and then his king went to help his “a” pawn, at that moment I resigned.

I am still upset after yesterday’s game, here it is. My opponent  was a friendly guy I knew, but never played before. He was one of the opponents I expected and I knew he plays  Modern defense, but I didn’t have time to prepare. By the way I recently lost a game against it. So I played a line, where Black after 7… e5  has ~92% score. My novelty 8.Na3 was criticized by Fritz too. But his 8… Ng4 wasn’t good and I got some advantage.

Then I saw that I can sacrifice a bishop for 2 pawns and after his forced knight’ retreat fork him and get an exchange. So it was material equality – R+2P for B+N, but I thought that my rook will be stronger, since his pieces weren’t well placed. It was right.  Also I got psychological advantage. I was attacking from that point, not defending as before.

By move 31 I got real positional advantage. I think the critical moment was when I didn’t play 33. R1d6 as I first intended. I thought that he can play 33. Nc8, but Fritz noticed that after 34…Bd1 he loses his queen. After that I saw that I can win his “a” pawn, but decided that I have to do something more drastic.

I have to say that most of the game he had 10-15 minutes more than me. After his Nd5 and following exchange I started to feel not comfortable, sensing that my advantage went away, though Fritz says I still had it after queens exchange. I also felt that my rook doesn’t have a stable position. 42… Rd6 was a bad move and then having 10 minutes vs. his 16, I made a blunder. I saw right away that he has Bc5 and he played it. I resigned.

Some lessons learned from this game:

– if you have advantage you have to finish off you opponent the sooner the better and you must look for tactics that will let you do that

– Qf2, Kg1 is not a good combination, it creates a pin motif. Just moving king to h1 at some point would allow to avoid that lethal blow in the time trouble. Play safe.

I played yesterday in the old club with the young guy from the new one. I knew that his rating is about 1650. I got White for the second time, he played Modern Defense, here is the game. I have to say that I my  score against Pirc  is  -2 and this is somewhat similar, so definitely something I don’t like to deal with. Nevertheless he developed very slowly and I missed a Bxf7 sacrifice on the fifth move, that would for sure lead to a completely different result. After the game he said that he noticed it, I didn’t see it. I had a difficulty to find an active plan and soon my play was defined by reacting to his f5 attack. Fritz says I was actually OK and could even get better position. I tried to defend and consolidate my position. When he castled queenside  and then thought a lot after 23. Ne2, having as a result just 30 minutes left vs my 45, I decided that his attack is gone and now is my turn.

That was a big mistake, not the plan, but the relaxation. I blundered his Nh4+ (Fritz says Nxf3 was even stronger). It was like I lost a critical screw in my construction and it started to fall apart. I didn’t realize I had to give up an exchange, then after 27. Nxd2 saw that he can capture both my knights and follow with fxg3, hxg3, Qh3+, … going into endgame with 2 spare pawns. I tried to prevent it, miscalculated and blundered again with Nxd4 . I lost a piece, his attack became pretty straightforward. I had just a bit more than 5 minutes when I made a final mistake, letting him to create a mate threat.

I was very, very upset after the game. I really don’t know why I played so badly, again I see just one moment when after a long defense I thought that I am going to intercept the initiative and relaxed.