It was a 3rd round in the new club, after 2 draws with lower rated opponents I needed a win. I got a kid, whom I played before and won. I had White, Ruy Lopez, Classical Defense Deferred. The book recommends 7. d4 with advantage.

The first pawn break came on move 12. Houdini recommends instead 12… Bxe3 13. fxe3 Ne7 14. Bxd7 Qxd7 with an equality. I could win a pawn after 12… d5 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Bxa7 and then after both Rxa7 and Nxa7 I win e5 pawn. The difference with the line I played is that in this case the knight stands on d5 and in the game it would be a black queen defending e5 pawn. 19. Qc4 looked active, but 19. Rad1 Nd6 20. Nxd6 cxd6 21. Qd3 was winning a pawn.

Another pawn break came on move 32, also d5. I came close to winning a pawn, but didn’t play 36. Nxa6.  Getting two passed pawns on the queenside would give me a serious advantage despite of computer’s modest +1.05 evaluation. Computer also suggests elegant 36. Rxd5 Rxd5 37. Nxa6 with basically the same result. Then we transformed to a bit better for me R+N vs. R+N endgame, where I had to play Rc6 on move 44, not 45.

Then we exchanged rooks and came into an equal knight endgame. Move 62 was natural, but also provoking. Suddenly he took my knight. I had 1.5 minute left and needed to calculate that I at least will not lose the arising pawn endgame if I take the knight, otherwise I would have to take the pawn instead.  After I took his pawn my long time ago acquired knowledge helped me to win.

After the game I had a feeling that my play was mediocre. I came home and computer told me that I had my chance and some of my ideas were right, but I didn’t find the right moves. So, it was 5th round in Thursdays club and my opponent was a boy rated 100 lower.

I had White, played Ruy Lopez and he chose Classical defense deferred. After the opening the game became a positional struggle. I thought that his queen was at some risk, thought how to use it, but couldn’t find the decisive move. Computer doesn’t like my Nh2-f1-e3 maneuver, saying that I could play 24. Nf5 ( Black can’t play 24… Bh5 because of 25. g4, then h4). His flashy 28… Nd5 was a big mistake because of 29. h4! Qg4 30. Qd2 and Black loses a piece. Unfortunately I didn’t see that. I played 29. Qd1 and my next queen move 30. Qc1 was bad too, h4 still worked – 30. h4 Qxg3 31. Nxg3 Nxd1 32. Rxd1 with equal position. If 29… Qg4 30. Qd2 Bxf5 31. Nxf5 White is better.

After queens exchange and him taking on a2 I didn’t see that after 32. Ra1 Nb4 the knight would attack my bishop so I still lose a pawn. I got worse, then his another flashy move – 41. c4 was again not good giving up all the advantage. But then strange thing happened, probably time trouble affected me, I had less than 10 minutes left. I considered 44. Rg4!, but didn’t play it, even though I saw Rde6 coming. Then on the next move Rg4 was already a decisive mistake. After 48…  Reb2 the mate became inevitable.

My opponent was a man I never played before, I had White. He chose Ruy and played Bc5 after a6, here is the game . I had a pretty clear plan with c3, d3, but his Ne7 forced me to change it to d4. Interesting that I saw the standard sacrifice on f7 even before he played Bg4, just had a feeling that he could do it. He told me after the game, that as soon as he played Bg4 he saw Bxf7+. That explains why he replied Kf8 very fast.

The funny thing is I could get advantage even earlier by playing 10. Ng5, didn’t see it.  Anyway, I calculated the sacrifice, saw that I will lose d4 pawn (Friz shows a nice way to avoid it by 12. Bd5) and decided that I will be better. His king was a clear target and I started to develop attack. His Nf5 gave me a tempo, his position became very difficult to defend.

I saw his d4 with the idea of Queen’s check (he confirmed that after the game) before he played it, but reply 26. f6 looked strong enough. At this moment I knew that I am close to finish. Strange, that he let me make a move with a second queen, though he resigned right after that. It was a forced mate in a few moves.