I unexpectedly got White in that round, my opponent was the same boy with whom I played a month ago and won in Rossolimo variation. We played the same variation and got a similar position. I knew that I have to exchange dark-colored bishops early. I succeeded with that and started to organize a kingside attack. I don’t think g5 was a good move. I intentionally took on g4 with a pawn on move 24 in order to open “h” vertical.

I considered of course taking on h6 in different moments, still missed 28. Nxh6.  As I remember the idea of intermediate Qf5+ and then taking on h6 with  a rook flashed in my head at some point and then I lost, forgot it. So, 28. Nxh6 and if 28… Rxh6, then 29. Qf5+ Kg7 30. Rxh6 Kxh6 31. Rh1+ Kg7 32. Rh7+ winning the queen.

I realized that I can’t breakthrough on the kingside and started to prepare a break in the center. Computer criticizes me for not playing 34. d4, I think I thought that he can play 34… Rd8. It actually doesn’t work because of 35. dxe5 Qxd1 36. Ne7 Kf7 37. Qxf6 with a win for White.

After some maneuvering I finally played d4.  His 47… Qd8 was a mistake, I calculated 48. d5 cxd5 exd5 and he can’t take Rxd5 because of 50. Ne7+. There was also a stronger than Ne7+ move – 50. Qe4 with a very strong attack. Anyway I played 50. Qe4, it was strong, but the strongest was 50. dxe6!! Rxd1 51. Qxd1 52. Qe4 Qd8 53. Ne7+ Kg7 54. Qg6+ Kh8 55. Qxf6+ Rg7 winning the queen.

After his 50… Ng7 I could win on the spot playing Nxh6. I saw it, but didn’t calculate deep enough and played Ne7+ winning an exchange. It was similar to the previous game, but there I exchanged the queens almost right away, here I had a feeling that I can win with a straight attack. On move 60 I avoided queens exchange, though on move 63 offered it myself, seeing that I have a clear win in the R vs. N endgame.

On move 66 it was a mate in 8 after Qd5+, which I didn’t see. I can only say that starting from move 50 I played on increment, having about 5 minutes left. His 71…Qxb3 was a crucial mistake, after 74. Qxf6 it was a mate in 7 starting from 75. Re7+. He resigned.

 

I reviewed my recent games before Thursday and realized that I should play something reliable, I experimented too much lately. So, I came and my opponent was the guy to whom I lost 3 months ago having a gum inflammation, i.e. pain not quite suppressed by Tylenol. I decided then to play a Closed Sicilian and miscalculated right in the opening.

Sicilian d6 again, this time Bb5+ and he played Nc6. I felt relief right away and took on c6, it was my favorite Rossolimo variation.  I was satisfied with the opening and slowly developed an attack on the kingside. Back then when he played 10… Qb6 I thought how good would be Qa5 instead and suddenly he played 18… Qa5. I checked the lines and took on d5. Instead of 19… Qd8 keeping the important bishop by Bd8 was better.

I continued my attack and two times in a row missed a chance to strike a crucial blow using both times his weak dark squares. First, 25. Bh4 Nh7 26. Ng5 Nxg5 27. Qxg5 Rad8 28. Qh6 Rd6 29. Bf6 Qxf6 30. Rxf6 Rxf6 31. Qe3. Second, 26. Ng4 Rf8 27. Bf6 Nxf6 28. Rxf6 Qe8 29. Qg5 Bc5 30. Nxr5 Kh7 31. Nxf7 Qxf7 32. Rxf7+ Rxf7 33. Qxc5.

After I played  33. Qc3 and he played Rd7 I hesitated to take on c5 with the bishop because then I couldn’t defend g4 pawn, but missed that after 34. Bxc5 Qe6 35. Be3 Qxg4 my queen can take not only on c6, but also on e5 with  a check. Then I continued to press and eventually he blundered and resigned.

My opponent was a boy I played with many times. So I got White and played my favorite Rossolimo variation. I gave up some space in the opening, but then he chose not the best move with 16… f5. I considered Ng5 of course, but didn’t like f4, not seeing that I can play Qh5.  Still he could defend with h6 and I am just a 0.3 better. My move exf5 was not worse than Ng5 and I saw that I can put a rook on e4. Then I considered Nh4 a few times, but didn’t like e4 after exchange, though Fritz thinks I would have advantage after e4.

After his expected Nf4 I planned to exchange rooks and thought that the arising endgame should be good for me. I consider his g5 a mistake, though computer doesn’t think so. The problem is, he usually plays very aggressively, but this is not a position for that. Qg6 was a mistake, he had to exchange light pieces, N vs. B endgame is a draw. Interesting that I thought that I could win it because of his bad bishop, but actually it is bad only on a queenside, as most of the shootouts end in a draw.

His Qf7 and Kg6 were mistakes too, I think he underestimated my chances. After 34. Nf3 I expected Qf6 and was very surprised when he quickly played Qf5 and went away. I checked everything and played Nh4+. When he came back he realized that he blundered 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.

 

I came yesterday to the club with a strong desire to win. I had to improve my standing, otherwise my rating was going down. I got unexpected White with an expected opponent, man, probably 40+, So Sicilian, Rossolimo variation, here is the  game.  He misplayed the opening and already after move 10 he gave up a pawn.  He tried to organize counterattack on the kingside. I spent probably too much time on thinking about breakthrough d5, then decided just defend for now. It was all good until move 26, except time. I had I think less than a half an hour, he had more. I decided that I don’t have time to win an endgame (this club is just 90/SD), so I played 27. g4. After the game I told him, that I think it was a mistake and it was. Most importantly, I gave him some chances instead of just strangling him.

After he played 29… f4 tactical complications started. I pinned his bishop in a  few moves, but miscalculated with exchange on h3. He played Bf1 and as soon as he took his hand off the bishop he loudly regretted it, saying he should have played Bf5. Yes, I saw only Bf1 and was losing after Bf5. Anyway, I got an advantage, but didn’t have much time left, probably less than 5 minutes. I realized that I should stop writing the moves when I had a bit more than 2 minutes. He had maybe 9-10 minutes, so I got a bad feeling. I tried to keep my rooks on one line and eventually started to move my king into his territory. The only idea I had was to somehow attack his king, I didn’t have time for anything else.

When I had about 35 seconds, I took his “e” pawn with a rook, suddenly he took my king and shouted that he won. It was an illegal move, leaving me under check. He wanted TD, I tried to stop the clock,  didn’t press “pause” right away and lost 7 seconds. Then TD (actually the guy who just decided to replace him) said, that he gets 2 minutes and I get a warning. We finally agreed and resumed the game. I got mad and decided to play until the bitter end. He took my “a” pawn and I managed to win his three pawns. Then I saw that I have a mate on “a6”  with a rook. He didn’t prevent it, so I played Ra6 and he shouted that the move is illegal (my rook was pinned). This time we resumed right away, I played different move and then he suddenly took the rook with the queen and when I recaptured, he said loudly with disappointment: “Draw!”. My clock was showing 5 seconds left. I nodded I think and the game ended. I was in such a state that couldn’t really understand what just happened. I asked the people around and they told me, that it was a stalemate after my move. They said that probably a mate was coming and he saw it.

I restored the position at home, it looked like this. Computer found a nice win with a rook sacrifice, I intended to move the “b” pawn, don’t know if I had actually time to mate him.

I thought about the second illegal move, weren’t the people too supportive of me  (they didn’t like his behavior) . I read the FIDE rules, they say:

“… for the first two illegal moves by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent in each instance; for a third illegal move by the same player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player.”

So, everything went according to the rules (it is good to know them by the way).

My opponent yesterday was a master, I never played him before. I had White and he played Sicilian d6. It transformed into Rossolimo, here is the game. He played an early f5 and it put me on the defensive right away. I started to have problems with placing my pieces, though Houdini says I was alright even after exchange on f6. I think gxf6 was a bold move, since the attack is stronger on “g” vertical, than on “f” one.

14. Qe3 wasn’t  a very good move, still I could play. The move that lost the game was the next one, 15. Qg3. I told him that right after the game and computer confirmed that, except I do not believe that it is ~ -1. I don’t think you can save the arising position against a master. So, I got under strong attack and was down a pawn. I knew that I do not have any chance, just didn’t want to lose in 16 moves. So I resisted for a while. After he played e4, I thought for a while, than took my pawn, intending to capture and realized right away that I will lose the bishop. I didn’t make the move and resigned.

I played a similar game half a year ago with an expert. It was almost the same pawn structure, he also played f5 and attacked on the kingside.  I lost. I think that I have to find an antidote to this Black’s plan, if I want to continue playing Rossolimo against high rated opponents.

My opponent on Monday was an expert, couple of years ago he even shortly reached 2200. It was I think the first time when I was outplayed in the opening in my favorite Rossolimo variation of Sicilian.  He said after the game that he successfully played a few times against this variation (with e6), even saw DVD.  Anyway, I  am White, here is the game.

I missed his f5,  saw it when it was late to prevent and my troubles started from there. Then useless move Ne4, I didn’t see that I can’t take on c5 after d5 because of d4. I felt like my queen couldn’t move to d2 because of Rxf3 and to e2 because of Nf4. I tried to find some counterplay, but d4 was a very bad idea. I saw Rxf2 as soon as I played Kg1 and the game was effectively over after that.

He pointed after the game to Qe2 move, yes it’s move 6 in the main line for White. I used that idea successfully 9 months ago against Sicilian 2… e6, but completely forgot about it. I saw Caruana’s game, he after Be3 played Nd2,  with f4 being a possibility, though never played it ( f5 wasn’t played either).