It was a second round in Thursdays club. My opponent was a boy I beat about  a year ago with Black. I had White this time and played Ruy Lopez.

After the opening there was some maneuvering. Then he made a mistake by playing 21… Rc8. White could play 22. a4 bxa4 23. Bxa6 Nb8 24. Bxc8 Rxc8, otherwise the knight on c6 is lost due to the pin, but I didn’t see it. His 22… Re7 missed my 23. d5, then another mistake was 23… Nb8.

On move 28 I saw that I have a decisive advantage, but didn’t like 28. Qh6 because of 28… Rxf5 29. exf5 Nxd5. Computer says there was a mate in 9 after that with 30. Re4 Ne7 31. Rg4 Ng6 32. fxg6 fxg6 33. Bxg6 Qe7 34. Bf5 Kf7 35. Qxh7+ Ke8 36. Rg8+ Qf8 37. Re1+ Kd8 38. Rxf8#.

After 29. Qf2 he played expected Kh8, the next moves came naturally, in the end I had 6.5 minutes left. He resigned after  32. Ne7.

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It was a first round, I got Black and seeing my opponent playing Ruy Lopez decided to play again Schliemann Defense. On move 7 I forgot that I need to play Qe5 (played it in the blitz game in the last November) and played Nf6. It was actually a second choice and quite good too, but after 8. Nc3 I still had to play Qe5.

Unfortunately I decided to play 8… c5 to get back the pawn and completely missed Qb5+. After 9. Qb5+ Qd7 10. Ne6 I was in a kind of a shock thinking that am losing material and missed 10… Bd6. I saw it, but thought that I will lose g7 pawn after queens exchange not seeing Rg8 and Rxg2.

After 15 moves I saw that I can get one pawn back. Than I transferred into a rook endgame thinking that this way I have a bigger chance of survival. On move 40 computer prefers Rh1 with +1.3 estimate for White. Then I made a big blunder playing 42… Kd5.

It was a last round in the Thursdays tournament.
I played really bad in it, having 3/6 and a very low performance rating due to playing low rated opponents. So my goal was to win to at least  improve my standing. I got a boy rated 1438, he played Ruy Lopez. I decided that it was a right moment to try Schliemann Defense.
I played about a dozen of blitz games with a score ~75%, read some chapters from the book and looked up the best lines in DB. Despite of my preparation the line 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Qe2 was not familiar to me. I remembered that Nf6 and Qe7 are often played, it helped.

Computer says he could play 8. Nh4 (+0.28), the best for White after 8… Be6 is not obvious 9. Nxe4 which would be followed by 9… Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Qf6 11. Nf3 Be7 with equality, but 9. d3 with a small 0.2 advantage. After queens exchange I felt pretty comfortable, knowing that two bishops in this, quite open position will compensate me the pawn minority on the kingside.

After 18 moves I had ~0.40 advantage and expected a long positional game. But suddenly he blundered a piece and the game was quickly over.

It was round 4 in Thursdays club, my opponent was an old gentleman, never played him before. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. His move 7 wasn’t the best choice, that was amplified by 9… Nf6 which was a mistake. He tried to complicate things by b5, I rightly played Bb3.

Then suddenly he played 12… Nxd4, computer says Nh6 was worse. Here was the first moment I basically could win the game just by playing Bg5, then taking on d4, computer evaluates it as +3. But I decided that getting bishop for two pawns is not good enough and thought that playing exd6 and opening “e” vertical would be better, it was worse just giving back most of my advantage. Playing Qb3 was another mistake, I missed that I can’t play Re1 after Be6 because of Bxf2+.

Anyway, after he played 17… Qxd6 and offered a draw, I refused. I thought my position is better, it was and his queenside castle made things worse for him. Computer prefers 19. Rc1 with the Bf4 (after Ne2) threat to my obvious 19. a4. Then he made a crucial mistake by playing c6. I expected his 22… Bd5 and prepared Nxd5, which I played right away. Instead of it 23. Nbxd5 would be KO, it is +15 after that.

Then I made another obvious move 24. Rxc6, thinking that after 24. Nxc6 Kb7 my pieces will be hanging, but Rb6 was solving that. My next moves were giving back my advantage, 26. Rb3 and 27. Qg3 were much stronger than moves in the game. Eventually after 30 moves I decided that my chances in the endgame are better and offered queens exchange. He had much less time at that moment and offered a draw again, I refused. I sincerely thought that I have material advantage.

I stopped writing moves soon after that, I remember that we exchanged pawns on the kingside, so he was left with 2 and I with one there. I had a funny thought then that I should avoid exchanging the “h” pawn because he could sacrifice his rook for the “b” pawn and I will have to mate him with bishop and knight and I didn’t remember how. His time was going down after every move and he flagged. He said that it was a draw, I answered that I am not sure. I was actually upset that I didn’t win earlier, realizing that I had a big advantage. At home the computer estimated the position as 0.00.

 

 

It  was 5th round in the Thursdays club, my opponent was a boy rated 1479. I got White and played Ruy Lopez. I think I was not yet in a good shape, that’s why I played anti-Marshall after 7… 0-0. I played it only once and lost to 1900 rated guy.

Computer thinks that I could play Ba4 on move 15, I played it a move later. I decided not to give up my Spanish bishop for an extra doubled pawn, computer approved, giving only 0.12 after 16. Bxb4 Nxb3 17. axb3 d6. Then I got a feeling that my position is somewhat inferior and tried to improve it. 33. Rxc6 with following 33… Qxc6 34. Bd8 was better than my 33. Bc3.

After 33… Qc4 I didn’t like Qc2, it looked passive and decided to sacrifice a pawn by playing Ra1. It was not sound, but he played Kh7. Though my next move wasn’t the best, computer still wanted me to play Qxc2, I intercepted the initiative in a few moves. He decided to counterattack on the kingside. His f5 didn’t look like a good idea to me, but I missed 44. g4, I saw it only after I played Qd5. I wanted to use his king’s position, but couldn’t find the right move, I had left less than 5 minutes after 48 moves.

There was 50. Qf1 Nc7 51. Qd3, I missed it. Than it came a crucial moment after 52. Qc6 Qb3. I could play 53. Qxb5 with following 53… Qd1+ and Qxd2, but I had like 1 minute and 20 seconds left and that queen endgame didn’t look clear to me. I didn’t see that after 53… Qd1 I had 54. Qf1 Qxd2 55. Qxf5+, then Qe4 with extra pawn, computer evaluated it as +1.  So instead I went for a perpetual.

It was a 4th round in the Mondays club, I came after a 4 weeks break. My opponent was a young guy guy rated 1684, I played him 5 months ago and won. This time I had White again and we again played Ruy Lopez, old Steinitz Defense.

I played Bg5 to provoke h6. Then I was surprised by his Ne7-c8-b6 maneuver  and thought it was passive. I thought that after 22. Qxf5 he is in trouble, but computer considers the position equal. But then he made a few non-accurate and too aggressive moves that completely ruined his position.

The worst was 24… Rxc2 after which I played Nf6+ without thinking and then right away saw the forced win – 26. Qe4. I still looked at Ne8 and Nh5, but didn’t see a clear win (Ne8 was equal and Nh5 was +3) and played Qe4. There was also Re1, even stronger. After a long thinking he found 26… Nd7. Of course I rejected taking the rook and played Nxd7, after that he resigned.

It was 4th round in Monday’s club. My opponent was a young guy rated 1762, provisional.
I had White, we got Ruy Lopez, old Steinitz variation. Instead of Nc3 computer prefers to develop knight on d2, then to f3.

My move 17. Nd5 started complications. After 18. Be3 c6 I decided that I am losing a piece, because after 19. Bxd4 cxd4 my knight has nowhere to go. But I could play 20. f5 as well as 19. c3 in the first place. He decided to play 19. cxd5 and I realized soon that even I am down a pawn I definitely have a compensation. His 23… Ne5 was a big mistake, instead exf5 was about -1.

I thought a lot about move 25, deciding what to play – fxe6 or f6 and not seeing how I can get anything real out of f6 played fxe6. But there was 25. Rd7 Rf8 26. f6 winning on the spot. I also missed Rd7 on the next move and lost all my advantage. Then we went into a rook endgame where I saw that I can get a pressure on his c5 pawn. His 41… Kc6 was a mistake and then he allowed rooks exchange. The pawn endgame was technical and in a hopeless position he resigned.