It was a first round in Monday’s club. My opponent was a boy rated 1616. I got Black, he played Scotch gambit. I decided to play the main line with 4… Nf6. I knew that line a bit, though played it OTB just one, max two times.

After his 14. f4 I decided to play f5 to stop his pawn attack on the kingside. He looked surprised and spent some time trying to find a plan. Then I completely missed that after his Na4 he controls c5 and really didn’t like it. I considered Bb5, but thought that bishop will be vulnerable there. So I played g5 to spice the things up. Here I missed 21… d4 strike. After 22. Nxd4 Bxd4 23. Bxd4 c5 24.  Nxc5 Nxc5 White has to play h3 to prevent the devastating consequences of Bb7+. On move 23 I considered d4 with the idea of cutting off the piece on c5, calculated it, but my calculation was wrong and I didn’t play it, same on move 24.

As a result I got worse. White missed 28. a5 and if Bxa5 then Qf2-Qe3-e5 with the horrific attack. When I decided that I am out of the trouble he played 32. Qe3. I noticed the Qe3-e5 threat and thought that the only defense from the mate would be to exchange on c5, then taking on e6. I saw that I was losing then two pawns – “a7” and “c7”, but thought that opposite-colored bishops would give me a draw. Instead of it the cool 32… a6! 33. Qe5 Kg6! was leading to an equal position.

In the endgame my plan starting from 38… Kd7 was wrong. I think I would be better off keeping my king on the kingside with the bishop stopping the “a” pawn. My 40… h5 was a serious mistake, then my position deteriorated and I lost.

It was a middle-aged guy I never played before. I had White and played Ruy Lopez, here is the game. We went along Chigorin variation and my 13th move wasn’t very good, though he didn’t use it  (it allowed exd4 and you can’t take on d4 because of Qxc2, though in some lines White gets his pawn back). Then it looked like I got slightly better position, but I decided to play obvious 27. Be3. I completely missed his Nbxd5 after rooks exchange. it’s funny that he overplayed the combination making move Nf4, but I thought that after I move the queen he will play Nxd3, e4 with the fork, not seeing that if I take on d3 with the rook, I have Rxd6.  I lost a pawn, also he had 2 bishops.  He was spending more time than me, so I tried to make the play as complicated as I could. You will see, it actually worked in the end.

Meanwhile we reached 50 m0ves,  I ran to get a new scoresheet and after return played h5 quickly, noticing right away what will happen. I was already  thinking how many more moves I will flounder about, but suddenly he played Qc1, forcing queens exchange. You understand how I felt, it’s like somebody threw me a life ring. I quickly exchanged the pawns on the queen side, blocked his pawns movement and started moving my pieces back and forth.  I was writing moves until move 65, so the rest is my best recollection, except the final position, which is exact. I wanted to play 68… Kf5, but then thought that it would be risky to move my king too far from the “d” pawn. The analysis shows that there was a clear draw after I was taking f6 pawn. At some moment I told him: “Looks like a draw”, he answered: “Let’s try something” and played 80… h5.  With 90% probability there was a position shown after move 86, because I don’t remember having my bishop on h1 or h3, as Fritz suggests. I had less than 2 minutes at that moment, he – 15-20 seconds more. Then suddenly to my great pleasure it came to a draw.

He was somewhat disappointed of course, but appreciated the game. I praised his combo, which was good indeed. He realized that going into the bishops endgame was wrong and explained, that he was worried about playing endgame  with the queens while having a little time (he had a few minutes less than me at that moment).

The lesson is – there is no automatic wins or draws, you have to do your best and then Kaissa decides. 🙂  Looking at Fritz’s analysis of the endgame, you can draw one conclusion – if opponent’s king attacks your bishop, you should be very careful with defending it with your king, in two lines it allowed to opponent to make a beneficial pawn move.

It was a last round of the tournament. After winning in the first round I lost 4 in row as a part of -6, =2 streak (in 2 clubs). Then I managed to win 3 in a row there (+5, -1 streak).  My rating was still going to go down, so I wanted to win that one too.
I prepared to play Benko against my opponent, young guy, but he didn’t play d5, so Benoni. Here is the game.
After 8… Qa5 he played 9. Bxf6 because of the threats Qxg5 and Ne4 . I started to feel good getting 2 bishops.
Then his Bf3 took me by surprise, I saw Rc5 coming and my d5 pawn defenseless, but after some thinking found Bf8.  On move 23 I could exchange his b4 pawn to my d5, but for some reason decided not to do it, the position looked unclear to me. Fritz think that I missed an advantage here.
Some maneuvering followed, then I executed f5, f4 plan. It worked very well and I felt that I have an advantage there. I played Rc4 to get a passed pawn and then saw that I can win d4 pawn. I realized that it will be an opposite-colored bishops endgame, but decided to try my luck there, not seeing anything better.
At that moment we had less than 2o minutes left each, time was almost equal during the whole game, with him having a few minutes more. Suddenly he blundered a pawn and his chances went down.
I got two connected passed pawns and after some delay (criticized by Fritz) finally played d4.  After d3 he resigned.
I will still lose about a dozen rating points despite +5, -4 result because average rating of my opponents was lower than mine, but I am glad that I could recover from a very bad situation.

I definitely wasn’t lucky on that evening. First, after hanging out in the club and talking to the people for 35 minutes I found that for some mysterious reason I got a bye. So I complained, pairings were changed and I got an opponent that I beat a couple of times quite some time ago. OK, I wait, he is not coming, then see his brother.  I realize that the guy won’t come, otherwise he would be already here. This time TD notices lonely me himself, another scramble, then after some time I get an opponent from 2000+ section, actually he is just above 1900. It’s a boy, I had 2 draws with him, one recently.

I am White, Petroff again, here is the game.  We go along the same variation, then he deviates, I don’t like his Bd7. He plays c5 again and I follow the previous game, where I had an isolani. Fritz says that here the best was d5, I agree now. I see that he can play  Bg4 after 16th and 17th move and get me into trouble, he misses it. Then he offers queen exchange, I proceed, since it looks good and then play Ne5 to get rid of my isolated pawn, which is under pressure. After my passive h3  I see that I can’t defend a2 pawn after Be6 with Re2 as planned because of Bd4.  Fritz says it’s even worse than I thought and I could lose a piece after Ra3.  I decide to activate my pieces and get an idea of exchanging my light-colored bishop to his dark-colored foreseeing a possible rooks exchange. He advances his pawns and suddenly plays 36… Rc2. I think he made a mistake, quickly exchange rooks, take the pawn and then see Bd5. As Russian expression says – it’s like “thunder in the clear sky”. I see all my pawns go down, make “just move” Kd3 and then find Fritz’s idea – Bf2 with h4, decreasing the number of pawns on the board.

He has an essential time advantage, about 22-24  minutes vs my 11-12. I take b4 pawn and hope to get back with my king on time. I have a bit more than 5 minutes left when I make a crucial mistake – Bf1 instead of Bf2. It is one of my most horrible (though innocently looking) endgame mistakes. He wins a bishop for the “h” pawn and it ends the game.

All bishop endings are drawn ???  Every joke is half the truth,  it’s exactly related to this rephrasing of Tarrash’s famous  “All rook endings are drawn”.   What if we have opposite- colored bishops? Wikipedia says: 

 ” Positions when one side has an extra pawn are usually drawn and even two extra pawns (and occasionally more) may not be enough to win too”. 

I got a little example of that in one of my thematic correspondence games.  My Marshall attack with Black didn’t go very well and I found myself practically two pawns down in this position:


Crafty recommends 34. Bh6+ Kh7 35. Qh4 Re1+ 36. Kh2 Kg8 37. Rg2 Re2 38. Qg3 b4 39. cxb4  with estimate 2.12. My opponent decided to exchange rooks and queens,  so we came to the opposite colored  bishops endgame. Computer estimate dropped to 0.73, we will see later why. 34. Rxe2 Qxe2 35. Qf2 Qxf2+ 36. Kxf2


So, the plan for Black is to block advancing of the white pawns.  36. … Bc2 37. d5 Kf8 38. Ke3 Bb3 39. Kd4 Ke7


40. Kc5 Kd7 41. Bh6 Bc4 42. f4 Kc7 43. Bg7 f5 44. Be5+ Kd7 45. d6 


45. … Bd3 46. b3 Be2 47. c4 bxc4 48. bxc4 Bf3


49. Bf6 Bg2 50. Be7 Bf3 51. Kb6 Be4 52. c5 Bd5


53. Bg5 Be4 54. Bf6 Bd5 55. Be5 Be4 56. Bf6   1/2-1/2