I had serious doubts if I should play that Monday night after returning from the weekend tournament that didn’t go well at all. But during the day I calmed down, was feeling OK and decided to go.

My opponent was a new guy, he played before in the middle section and his rating was still provisional. I got Black, he played Ruy Lopez, we followed the book moves until his 16. Ng3 to which I played Rfe8, not Nc6. Computer thinks  that after 19. Ne3 I had 0.9 advantage.

Here comes the explanation of the post’s title. I calculated 21… Rxd3, saw that it didn’t work and played Nb7. But there was an interesting move that actually used my idea.  21… Bb4 attacked the rook on e1, defending e4. So, 22. Bd2 was losing due to Qd7 and if 22. Nd2 then Qd7 again. If 22. Rf1 then my Rxd3 worked.

The best reply for White was 22. Bxh6 and then if 22… Bxe1 then 23. Bxg7 and White is better. So, 22… gxh6 23. Qe3 Bf8 24. Nxh6+ Bxh6 25. Qxh6 Rxd3 26. Qg5+ Kf8 27. Qxf6 Qd6 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxe5 with Black having a bishop for 3 pawns and about 0.4 advantage.

Nothing of that happened, on move 24 I played Nd4 though I didn’t like it, just didn’t see anything else. On moves 36 and 37 he could get advantage after Qg3, but he didn’t see it and played 37… Nxd4, after that it became equal, we repeated the moves and agreed to a draw.

My opponent was a man, who plays as long as I am playing, first our game was in 2008. I think our score is +2, -1.  He had White, Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation. My goal in it lately is to avoid by any means a quiet White’s buildup on the kingside, the knight placed on f5 is of course an important part of it.

19. Nd5 really changed a character of the game for me. After 19… Nxd5 20. exd5 f6 I got a good feeling. The pawn on d5 didn’t look dangerous and my position looked very solid. Then again I was not worried about his Nh4 because I had f5. Then a strange thing happened. I was watching his knight and saw that I can’t play g5 because he would take on f5. From another point of view I didn’t want to play e4 because of the Qd4 with the forced queens exchange. So I played Bg7 not seeing that after 25… e4 , 26… g5 he loses the knight on h4.

Then I made another mistake giving up all my advantage after exchange on h4. 29… Qc6 was intended not to let him to put his queen on d5, attacking pawn on e5. It was still his best option – to play Qd5 with an equal position. His 32. Re1 gave an advantage to me again. 33. Qe2 was another mistake and then he suddenly took on e5. He probably thought that I will play 36… Rxc6, but I saw a knight check winning a piece.

The arisen endgame was pretty simple, it was good because I really got down on time. I stopped writing the moves having less than 5 minutes and got under 1 minute at some point. Still, in the end I managed to block his passed “b” pawn and created my own on the kingside. Eventually he resigned when my pawn was about to queen with a mate.

 

I unexpectedly got Black again in that round, so my opponent was also unexpected – the girl I lost to twice. Once I underestimated her and another time I gave up the perpetual for a “winning” move. She can play well, recently drew with a master and a couple of experts and is a current U14 girls Canadian champion.

We played Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation. After Nxc4 I decided to take with the pawn, didn’t like her bishop getting to b3. I thought that d5 instead of pressure on e5 was making my life easier. Then I got an opportunity to get my knight on f4 and started to think about an attack.

Her 27. Rh1 was a big mistake, which I didn’t use. After 27… Rxc3 28. Qxc3 Bxh3 29. g3 Qh6 30. gxf4 exf4 31. Qd2 f3 32. Nf1 Qh4 33. Kg1 Bxa1 Black is much better. I saw the idea of Rxc3 without the details after she played Bb4 and decided to keep it in mind. After 30. Rac1 I saw 30… Rxb4 31. Qxb4 Ne2 with Qf4+ coming and calculated that because of the mate threat and her pieces on e3 and c1 hanging it should be a sound sacrifice.

It was, she played Qe1 and my task since then was not to let her win back the knight on e2. We exchanged the bishops, then the rooks. I thought that I should keep my queen, because B+N vs. R could get tricky if her rook will become active. Then she underestimated my attack in the center and made two crucial mistakes – 47. Qb8+ and 48. Qxd6. At that moment I had about 3 minutes left, but managed to stay calm and found the winning moves.

 

It was a first round of Monday’s tournament. My opponent was a guy I lost to once in the past. We played Ruy Lopez.  The goal of 13… cxd4 and all of my following moves was to avoid usual White’s pressure on the kingside with Nf5, etc.  I recently lost in such a game, so didn’t want to repeat it.

I was surprised by his 18. Bxd4, expecting Nxd4 and felt OK after that. But the real surprise was  25. e5. First I thought that it is a trap, but even without much calculation realized that it is not and took the pawn. He said after  the game that it was intentional. Of course he got some initiative, but I was optimistic. On move 29 Fritz found an amazing winning line starting with 29… g6. White can’t move the knight, because following 30… Nh5 31. Qg4 Bd6 creates Nxg3+ threat and if 32. g3 then Qf2.

Anyway, we exchanged queens later and then his 40. a4 somehow unbalanced me. I made a strange 41… Nxa4 instead of a5 and then I am not sure I even saw Bxc8 threat when I played 43. … Nc3, because usually I do not reply to threatening my piece by counter-threat. I saw Rd3 right after I made a move, luckily the same thing as in today’s game 6 of the World Championship  happened and he quickly played 44. Rd7.

Suddenly I found myself defending, trying to relocate my not well placed pieces. I made another mistake playing 51… f5, though not so crucial. I was having a very little time left, reaching 10 seconds at one moment and playing on increment. Then he allowed me to activate my pieces. In the end I could move my king to the center, but got a feeling that it is dangerous taking into account his active king, rook and bishop. So we went for a three-fold repetition and agreed to a draw.

My opponent was a young man, I got White. We played Ruy Lopez, Chigorin variation very fast until our game reached the first  non-theoretical move – 16… c4. I had to prevent his intentions on “a” vertical , then suddenly he closed the queenside.

I thought that I am better after that, computer supports it. f4 looked kind of forced to me. His h5 move gave me a motive for a combination. I saw that after 34. Nxh5 gxh5 35. e5+ and 36. e6  I get my piece back and my position is good, but didn’t expect that it is actually winning on the spot. He probably felt it, so didn’t take the knight. Computer thinks that I had to play Nf5+ one move earlier and I would get a +3 advantage. I think I started to feel the time pressure, he had much more time than me. It showed when I played h6,  not seeing Rh8. I realized that I lost all my advantage, was very low on time and actually started to play for a draw, though not offered it.

Then on the move 60 he made a mistake and I saw it right away. I had 1.5 minute remaining, just enough to estimate that I win a pawn. For some reason, maybe shaken by this strike, he gave up another pawn instead of playing Kh7 where I do not have much. Then I made a mistake by playing 64. Kh4, I only can say that I played on increment at this time. He could play Rxg4 and I would have to go for a perpetual check. Then he made a horrible mistake by playing Qe8, but I did not see Qxh7.

69. Rf5 was a weak move, instead 69. Qe7+Kh7 70. h7 was much better, but anyway it was already a winning position. He tried to complicate things by Nxb4, but I saw that there is nothing there. Then he finally blundered with Kxh6 and resigned.

 

 

 

I just played in Labour Day Open, on the long weekend, in U1900 section.

Round 1.  I had White and he played French, here is the game. I didn’t feel fresh after a very busy day before, though I slept enough. I played 12. Be3 which is 11-th choice in DB and it showed. Then I missed his Ng4, forgetting that rook after that also attacks f4 and had to give him two bishops. It was still pretty equal play until I lost a pawn.

I tried to hold the position and missed 3-fold repetition, computer told me about it at home. It was still very much defensible position when I made a decisive mistake playing Rd5. He used it and just after 10 moves I resigned.

Round 2. I get some rest, food and most important coke. My opponent plays Ruy Lopez.  I decide not to look for adventures and just play Chigorin variation, here is the game.

I don’t like his 19. Rb1 and play d5. The play opens, my pieces are better placed and he gets in trouble. After 24.Rd8 he misses the chance to save his piece and the game is practically over. Later I also miss a few forced mates, but after queens exchange he resigns ( a few moves after what I show, I just messed up the recording).

Round 3. My opponent is a man I played before and have with him a positive balance – 2:0 I think. I remember I won in Rossolimo variation last time, here it is again. I don’t like his 8… Ng8. After 11…O-O I see that Nb3 creates problems for him, though I also see f6. But he plays it only on the next move. Computer prefers 12. Qe3. Then I decide to play e6, since exf6 gives too much to him. I think I made a blunder with Rb1 (Qa5), but computer likes the arising position and says I am good. My knight on c5 looks really strong and eventually he decides to exchange it.

After a several more moves in a position that is clearly better for me (~+2.3) he suddenly resigns.

Round 4. I play with the highest rated guy in our section.  I have Black, Italian game. When I play Bf5, I see  that he can take on e7, but think that after Bxd3 he gets nothing. After Rae1 I realize that I am wrong.

Then 16… Nd5 gets me in more trouble. I find 17… Nf4 and he doesn’t see g3, which I see. I start to feel some ground under my feet and now I am missing chances not playing 19… Nd3 or 23… Nf4. I feel it, but do not fully realize how strong are my knight and bishop. The position becomes equal, but he has not much time left for making 30 moves before  the first control. He passes it, but maybe because he is still keeping some tempo or fatigue strikes him he starts to make bad moves. Then finally he plays Kg1  and I notice that his back rank is not defended. I attack his knight on b6, his Ne5 can’t save it and he gives up an exchange. I still have to demonstrate some technique against his well interacting  two knights, but exchange is exchange…

Round 5. I have White and play my favorite Rossolimo, here is the game. He plays well in the opening and neutralizes all my attempts to get attack on the kingside.

We  move into endgame, which I consider equal. He tries to get an advantage and eventually I make a bad move – bxa4 instead of b4 with a draw. I feel that I am in trouble. Suddenly I see that I can play Nd5. After he takes the knight, I think that I have a chance to win thanks to the remote passed pawn. The funny thing is it’s not a winning, but rather losing move. The game gets crazy. He misses some chances and then I do the same, missing a win twice. The game ends up in a draw.

 

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.