It was a round four in the Thursday’s club, I had Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated again. My opponent was a boy, never played him before.

The first interest moment came when he suddenly played 19. Ne6. I looked at it and realized that accepting it would be bad after 19… fxe6 20. Qe7 Rf7, so decided to decline it, but spend some time thinking about the right reply. I considered 19… Ne4, but didn’t see any advantage in 20. Nxd8 Nxd3 21. Qd2 missing that after 21… Rxd8 22. Qxc3 Qc6 White has to play 23. e4 because 23. Qb2 or 23. Qc2 is met with b5. Another line 19… Ne4 20. Rd3 Rxd3 21. Qxd3 Qe7 22. Bd5 Nf6 23. Bxb7 Qxb7 24. Ng5 is -0.80.

Instead I played 19… Rd6 and in a few moves got some pressure on “d” vertical. But after 24… f6 Black’s position also became vulnerable due to the weakness of a2-g8 diagonal. My 32… d3 sacrifice was not necessary, instead Qd8 was keeping the pressure and defending the kingside at the same time.

After 35 moves I had about 3 minutes left. I saw that Rxh6 was possible and wanted to defend, but didn’t have enough time to calculate properly and played Rd7. It was a mistake, 37. Rxh6 gxh6 38. Qg6+ Kh8 39. Qe8+ Kg7 40. Qxd7+ Kf8 41. Qd8+ Kg7 42. Bc4 was winning.

Luckily for me he didn’t see it. I stopped writing the moves at that moment, remember playing Qf8 on the next move, so Rxh6 was not possible anymore. Then I created again a pressure on e4, he made a mistake and was forced to give up his “b” pawn.

In the end we had the following position, where I repeated the moves.

This position is equal after Bg2.

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It was a first round of a new tournament in Monday’s club. My opponent was an old guy, he told me he didn’t play in 25 years. Yes, he looked rusty sometimes, nevertheless played pretty well.

So, I had Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated.  His 31. Qg2 was not the best move and then 32. bxc5 increased my advantage. So, I won a pawn and tried to get a breakthrough in the center. 36. Re4 was better than Red7.

In the end I got under 10 minutes and he was under 20. I started to feel exhausted and not seeing a way to win, decided to offer a draw. He accepted.

 

It was a first round of the Monday’s tournament and I got the second guy from that ~1400 rated pair of guys that won the middle section last time. His rating is now 1627.

I got Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated. His Bg5 surprised  me a bit and that bishop was quite annoying for a good part of the game. After the opening I was feeling under pressure and thought that I am in trouble, but it wasn’t that bad. He could play 18. Bb5 and after 18… Qxb5 19. Bxe7 Bxf3 20. gxf3 dxc5 21. Bxf8 Bxf8 22. dxc5 bxc5 23. bxc5 Rxc5 24. Rxc5 Rxc5 he would be 0.5.

But he played 18. Bg5 and I found a good defensive resource with Nd5. Again he could get a bit better with 25. Ne5, but he played Bd6 which was equal. When I decided to play 25… e5 it seemed risky, because it was leaving less protection for the knight, but it was the only way to free my pieces. It was also letting me to start a counterattack, computer sees it and recommends Bf1 right away. His Rc4 was a mistake, only preventing Qg4, but not Qf5. He still didn’t see the danger, even after I played Nf4. I realized that his Bb5 was bad, so I needed to decide, Nh3+ or Ne2+. I saw that gxh3 is bad as well as Kh1.

Computer suggests a nice queen sacrifice after 29. Kh1 – Qxf3!! . But what about 29. Kf1? It looked less forced, so I decided to play Ne2+.  Still the best was 28… Nh3+, winning after 29. Kf1 Bxf3 30. gxf3 Qxf3 31. Qe1 Nf4 32. Rxf4 Qh1+ 33. Ke2 exf4+ with a forced mate.

Anyway his position was difficult enough and then he played 31. Rh4??, probably trying to prevent Bh6. After 31… Nd4 not only his 32. Ke1, but also Rhxd4 was losing on the spot. I saw that his rook is hanging and played g5. After his 33. Rhxd4 it was a mate in 16, but even better 33. Rh3 wouldn’t save him.  34. Bxe8 made that mate shorter.

 

 

It was a second round in the Monday’s club and I got my nemesis – the guy I lost to quite a few times. Is it psychological or his style of play or openings that I didn’t master yet – probably all of it. Unexpectedly I got Black again, so Queen’s Indian.

What I am still missing playing this opening is a clear understanding of the ideas for Black. 5… d5 was not a good move, instead 5… Bb4 6. Nf3 Ne4 7. Qc2 O-O 8. Bd3 f5 9. O-O Bxc3 10. bxc3 d6 was a way to go. Another positional misstep was 8… exd5 instead of 8… Nxd5 9. Nxd5 Bxd5. You should not close the diagonal for the bishop. Then 10… cxd4 gave him ~0.8 advantage,  I had to play 10… Nc6.

Then I missed an opportunity with 12… Nxd4. Of course, I saw 13. Bxh7+ and decided that it was not worth to take the pawn, that it would weaken my kingside. But the position was equal. 12… Rc8 was just bad because of Bf5. He pressured and won the “d” pawn.

Eventually we exchanged most of the pieces and went into  a rook endgame. Suddenly he started to play not that well as before, maybe rook endgame is his weakness. It happened once in the past when I missed a chance to win a rook endgame with one strike. He played 33. a4, I saw the answer before and played Rd4. If he instead of that would play 33. b3 then my idea wouldn’t work.

I put my rook behind his pawn according to Tarrasch and everything was fine until move 45, when his king’s movement towards the “b” pawn got me worried and I made that horrible move Kd7 losing the game. The rest is self-explanatory, he just demonstrated some technique.

When I was driving home, I thought what could I do differently and suddenly realized that I did not have to move the king. If his king would approach the “b” pawn, the rook would give checks and the king had nowhere to hide. This all is because the pawn was advanced to b7. The funny thing is he did not realize that either.

The right way was to advance the pawn only to b6 and then move the king, still it’s a draw in this case.

 

It is about two games – one was hard, another was easy. There were kind of opposite one to another, from the opening to the endgame, so it is interesting to compare.

Game 1 – I played on Monday, top section, expert. I lost to him once before, missed a crazy computer sacrifice with a win. I had Black, decided to play something different from Semi-Slav and chose to return to Queen’s Indian Accelerated.

In the opening I felt rather good, my isolated pawn was compensated by a good play in the center. Computer criticizes his 16. Nb3, giving the line 16…Rxc1 17. Rxc1 Ng4 18. Rf1 with ~-0.5 advantage. Then it got complicated after me deciding to get hanging pawns. I was distracted by his threat Bh3 after Ng5 and reacted to it, not seeing 20…c4! forcing his queen to b1 and then 21… Rc5 22. Bh3 Qc7 with initiative and 0.5 advantage. 24… c4 was already not a good move. I knew that I should advance one of the pawns only if it gives something to me, but I was just feeling pressure.  The same was with g5, not a good move too. 35… Bb7 was a losing mistake, then I didn’t see 39. Qe5 and the rest is self-explanatory.

Game 2 – it was played in three days, in another club. I had this opponent recently, a man rated 1825 and won with a piece sacrifice. I got Black again and we played the same line of Queen’s Pawn, except I didn’t make the blunder 5… e6, like in the previous game and he was keeping balance. It was developing very peacefully until move 36, too peacefully for me. Then I saw that if we exchange rooks, I can play 38… Kc5 and 39… a5 and I am stopping his queenside pawns, at the same time having majority on the kingside, clear win. Funny that Fritz thinks it is only 1.5 advantage, but after a few moves confirms it’s a win for Black.

So I played 36… Rd1 and he went for the rooks exchange, his desire to draw this game can explain it. Computer doesn’t like my 40… e5, saying that he could play 41. g4. But White is winning anyway not only after 41… h5, which I found at home, but also after 41… e4, which I would probably play there. In the game I just created a passed pawn, which deflected his king. Interesting that I had an optical illusion at one point thinking that after 48. Kc3 Ka3 he can keep my king along “a” vertical, forgetting that I can get to b4 square. He played c5 which was losing faster and resigned soon.